Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cardinal Donates Savings to Start Bank for Poor

Naples Prelate Enables Offering of Micro-Credits

NAPLES, Italy, APRIL 10, 2009 ( ).- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe is responding to the world economic crisis with more than exhortations; he is donating a year's stipend and part of his personal savings to initiate a diocesan bank that will offer micro-credits to the poor.

The Naples archbishop explained his plan in a pastoral letter titled "Where Can We Buy Bread," presented in the archdiocese Wednesday. The pastoral letter takes its title from the question posed to Jesus by the disciples before the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

Cardinal Sepe said the initiative aims to respond to the needs of "unemployed young people, and also of all those who have lost or will lose their jobs."

"Christ wishes to use our hands today to break the bread of sharing, of fraternity and of charity," he noted, inviting all those who are able to help finance the initiative.

"[F]ar from being a practice of pure welfare, the micro-credit will be the way to make the creativity and ingenuity of our people emerge again," the archbishop affirmed. It means "to have the courage to believe in man and to wager on the possibility of multiplying the loaves and fishes."

Cardinal Sepe underlined that in these times of crisis, "we have before us a hungry throng that, as sheep without a shepherd, asks for bread."

"To offer an opportunity to all those who ask for bread is the only way that we Christians have to address unemployment and new poverties, contributing to the restructuring of the social fabric at a time in which the economy does not succeed in offering a way out," he added.

The cardinal said his diocese is promoting this initiative in continuity with all that the Italian bishops have stated, noting their call "for a crusade of charity and assistance."

Globalized poverty

In describing the crisis, the cardinal observed: "We agree that we have built our society on sand and not on rock and, basing ourselves solely on economic calculation, have built the umpteenth tower of Babel.

"We thought that the globalization of markets would bring us further well-being, wealth for all, and instead we globalized poverty.

"And now, as evening draws near, we all find ourselves in the same boat and, like the disciples, while the Master exhorted them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, we can say nothing other than: 'We have no bread.'"

No comments: