The gift of a cash donation of more than Rs. 8.7 million given by the Catholic Bishops to Pope Francis was given back to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith by the Pontiff, the Archdiocesan Monthly Bulletin ‘Koinonia’ reported.
It said the donation which was given to the Pope’s Charity Fund amounted to Rs. 8,760,690.25. The contribution from the Archdiocese of Colombo was Rs.6,323,490.
In his monthly letter to the clergy, the Cardinal said just before emplaning to Manila, Pope Francis gave the cheque back to him and requested him to help the poor with it and report back to the Pope.
In view of this the Bishops have decided to distribute the money among the dioceses asking each bishop to use it to help the poor in the diocese and to send a report to the Cardinal on how the cash was used so that a comprehensive report could be sent to the Pope.
Pope Francis who has spoken extensively on the rights of the poor, the injustices of unemployment exhorts in his Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (The Joy of the Gospel), a spirit of “generous openness” and urges care for the weakest members of society – the homeless, the addicted, the refugees, the indigenous people, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned and migrants.