Pope Benedict XVI’s passion for global human development

Open doors into the future

Media Release, 12 February, 2013

Caritas Australia marks with gratitude Pope Benedict XVI’s leadership and hopes that his legacy and passion for the “poorest of the poor” and concern over the problems of global human development will be hallmarks of his successor.

Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot made the comments on the eve of Project Compassion, one of Australia’s largest humanitarian fundraisers that brings together thousands of Catholic school children and parishes across Australia in solidarity with the world’s poor.

“The Pope is passionate about the world’s poor and on many occasions emphasised that charity and truth are fundamental parts of faith and our development, both as individuals and for humanity as a whole,” Mr de Groot said.

A letter by Pope Benedict XVI sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in 2009, directed at political, business and religious leaders and aid agencies, warned of the dangers of globalisation.

“He talked about the suffering caused in the underdeveloped world by food shortages, saying that to feed the hungry is an ethical imperative,” Mr de Groot said.

“The Pope also considered a number of trends harmful to development such as the prevalence of corruption in both poor and rich countries, the existence of harmful speculative capital flows, the tendency for aid to be ‘diverted from its proper ends due to irresponsible action’ and the unregulated exploitation of the earth’s resources.”

Having a heart for the poorest of the poor and giving to others are central themes in every Project Compassion. However, special emphasis this year is on the opportunities that these expressions of faith provide.

Mr de Groot says: “It is a timely tribute to Pope Benedict’s social justice work that this year’s Project Compassion is centred on the words of the Holy Father: ‘We work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future’.”

Papal message taken from Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi, 35

Last year the fundraiser, run in Catholic parishes and schools across Australia, broke a fundraising record, raising more than $10.7 million.

Project Compassion 2013 will run over the six weeks of Lent.

For more information go to www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or phone 1800 024 413.

Caritas CEO Jack de Groot is available for interviews.

Media contact: Nicole Clements 0408 869 833 or nicolec@caritas.org.au