The Labour Party flag-bearer for the 2023 Nigeria presidential election, Mr Peter Obi has pledged to increase electricity generation, address brain drain, and implement Diaspora voting, among others if elected.
Obi made the pledge on Sunday at Columbia University, New York while having conversation on economic and government policy with the Columbia’s Africa Business Club, Black Law Students Association, and the Nigerian Diaspora in New York. This event is part of his “Good Governance Series: The role of Nigeria’s Diaspora” in the U.
S., having visited five states, viz North Carolina, Texas, Washington DC, Atlanta and California.
Obi said that South Africa which produces 50,000 megawatts of electricity had recently declared a state of emergency in the power sector for those who can generate below 100 megawatts without licence.
“But Nigeria generates 4,000 megawatts of electricity but did not declare emergency in the power sector,’’ he said.
He told the gathering that he knew what to do and asked them to give him the opportunity to turn his plans and vision for Nigeria into reality.
“I don’t have solution to all problems and leaders don’t, but I will consult when I need to consult,’’ he said.
The Presidential candidate said he would turn brain drain to brain in Nigeria, urging Nigerians in Diaspora to be investors instead of doing social welfare for people to eat and do burials.
On Diaspora voting, Obi said 2023 would be the last time Nigerians in the Diaspora would not vote, noting that if other countries in Africa can do it, Nigeria can also do it.
Speaking on the economy, he said Nigeria was blessed with rich land resources but lacked good leaders to harness the resources.
“Netherlands generated 120 billion dollars in agricultural export in 2021 and Nigeria has a land mass bigger than Netherlands but most states in Nigeria don’t contribute to the national purse but only take,’’ he said.
He lamented the rate of corruption in Nigeria, saying, “Corruption kills entrepreneurship, professionalism, and hard work.
“So, we must fight corruption through the President, his wife, and ministers by being honest.
He gave example of “Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) fund where the money belongs to the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) but Federal Government gives the funds to States and States gives it to the LGs’’, Obi said.
He wondered why the money could not be given to LGAs directly from Federal Government and that going through the States reduced what got to LGAs. Obi said he pushed for the funds to be given directly to LGAs during his tenure as Governor.
The candidate also wondered why the Federal Government could not dialogue with ASUU to call off the strike while the government could dialogue with bandits.
On borrowing, he said there was nothing wrong about borrowing but frowned at borrowing for consumption.
“We consumed what we borrowed and so it didn’t add to our growth.
We should borrow for production.
America and China borrow.
“All the G7 countries borrow so nothing wrong in debt but we should use debt to keep our economy growing,’’ he said.
In addition, he said 2023 election would not be about right, saying, don’t vote for me because I am from the southeast.
If you go to the North, it is not safer than the South.
“It will not be about religion; Muslims don’t buy bread cheaper than the Christians.
“2023 election will not be about my turn; it’s not anybody’s turn.
It is not a chieftaincy title; it’s about election.
It will not be about connection,’’ he said.
According to him, when people say Peter Obi does not have structure, let me tell you, the structure they are talking about is the structure of criminality, structure of corruption; that is the structure I want to dismantle.
“2023 election will be about character we can trust, competence, capacity, commitment to do the right thing.
’’ Earlier, Obi had met with some Nigerians in Germany, Italy, and Canada over his presidential ambition and plans to move Nigeria into a better country.
He also visited the Vatican City in Rome, where he attended the ceremony where a Nigerian, Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia Diocese, was elevated to a Cardinal in the Catholic Church
Nigerians in the U.
S. are to host the Labour Party flag-bearer for the 2023 Nigeria presidential election, Peter Obi, in five U.
Obi announced his engagement with Nigerians in the U.
S in a video posted on social media, which according to him, will start from Wednesday Aug. 31 to Saturday, Sept. 3. “I’m a guest speaker on the Role of Nigerian Diaspora in Development and Growth of Nigeria, events being organised by Nigerians in Diaspora.
“The events will hold in Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, Aug. 31; Washington D.
C. on Thursday, Sept 1; Atlanta on Friday, Sept 2 and New York on Saturday, Sept. 3. “I look forward to meeting all of you there and God bless all of you,’’ he quoted as saying in the video.
The New Agency of Nigeria learnt that the presidential candidate is expected to address town hall meetings and grant interviews in major cities of the leading democracy in the world.
Obi has in the recent past been in some western nations where he addressed Nigerians and friends of the country in packed to capacity halls.
Earlier, Obi had met with some Nigerians in Germany, Italy, and Canada over his presidential ambition.
He had also visited the Vatican City in Rome, where he attended the ceremony where a Nigerian, Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia Diocese, was elevated to a Cardinal in the Catholic Church.
Dr Victor Oye, National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has joined millions of Catholic faithful in Nigeria to congratulate Bishop Peter Okpalaeke of the Diocese of Ekwulobia on his elevation to the rank of cardinal.
Okpalaeke was installed a cardinal by Pope Francis alongside other 20 bishops in a consistory held at the St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City, Rome on Aug. 27. In a message made available to newsmen on Sunday, Oye who was in Rome to witness the installation of the new cardinals described Okpalaeke as God’s gift to Nigeria.
He thanked the Pope for finding Okpalaeke, who hails from Anambra, worthy of the elevation.
He said it was a sign of greater things to come to the state and the country.
According to Oye, Okpalaeke’s shining qualities of humility, steadfastness, courage, godliness and patience in the face of adversity stood him out.
“I pray to God for continued grace and humility in his (Okpaleke) service to God and humanity as he assumes a greater role in His vineyard,” he said.
Oye also felicitated the Governor of Anambra, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and the people as the state marked 31st anniversary of its creation.
He said Anambra had experienced consistent harmony, progress and development under APGA since 2006, adding that “for Anambra, it is so far so good”.
He urged Soludo to remain focused and implement the people-oriented manifesto of APGA for the greater good of the larger number of people.
He called on Anambra residents to give the governor maximum support.
Bishop Okpalaeke, the second cardinal of Anambra origin after Francis Cardinal Arinze was born on March 1, 1963 at Amesi in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra.
He was ordained a priest on Aug. 22, 1992.
Pope Francis admitted Saturday he needs to slow down, telling reporters after a six-day trip to Canada that he cannot maintain his pace of international travel — and may have to think about retiring.
“I don’t think I can go at the same pace as I used to travel,” said the 85-year-old pope, who suffers pain in his knee that has seen him increasingly reliant on a wheelchair.
“I think that at my age and with this limitation, I have to save myself a little bit to be able to serve the Church.
Or, alternatively, to think about the possibility of stepping aside.
” It is not the first time Francis has raised the possibility of following the example set by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who quit over his own failing health in 2013, and is now living quietly in Vatican City. In 2014, a year into his papacy, Francis told reporters that if his health got in the way of his functions as pope, he would consider stepping down.
In May, as reported in the Italian media, Francis joked about his knee during a closed-door meeting with bishops, saying: “Rather than operate, I’ll resign.
” “The door is open, it’s one of the normal options, but up until now I haven’t knocked on this door,” he said Saturday.
“But that doesn’t mean the day after tomorrow I don’t start thinking, right?
But right now I honestly don’t.
“Also this trip was a little bit the test.
It is true that you cannot make trips in this state, you have to maybe change the style a little bit, decrease, pay off the debts of the trips you still have to make, rearrange.
“But the Lord will tell.
The door is open, that is true.
” Intense speculation The comments come after intense speculation about Francis’s future, after he was forced to cancel a string of events due to his knee pain including a trip to Africa planned for earlier this month.
Talk was also fuelled by his decision to call an extraordinary consistory for August 27, a slow summer month at the Vatican, to create 21 new cardinals — 16 of whom will be under the age of 80, thereby eligible to elect his successor in a future conclave.
Benedict’s decision to quit caused shockwaves through the Catholic Church.
He was first pope to resign since the Middle Ages, but the precedent has now been set.
“In all honesty, it is not a catastrophe, it is possible to change pope, it is possible to change, no problem!
But I think I have to limit myself a bit with these efforts,” Francis said on Saturday.
He mostly used a wheelchair during his trip to Canada, where he offered a historic apology for decades of abuse of Indigenous children at residential schools run by the Catholic Church.
But he did stand up in his “popemobile” to greet crowds.
Francis said surgery on his knee was not an option, adding that he was still feeling the effects of six hours spent under anaesthetic last summer, when he underwent an operation on his colon.
“You don’t play, you don’t mess around, with anaesthesia,” he said.
But he added: “I will try to continue to go on trips and be close to people, because I think it is a way of service, closeness.
” Francis still hopes to reschedule his postponed trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“But it will be next year, because of the rainy season — let’s see: I have all the good will, but let’s see what the leg says,” he quipped.
The Argentine pontiff repeated that he would like to visit war-torn Ukraine, but offered no details on the state of his plans.
He has another overseas trip planned for a religious congress in Kazakhstan in September.
“For the moment, I would like to go: it’s a quiet trip, without so much movement,” the pope said.
SIGNIS Africa (www.SIGNIS.net) Congress and Assembly of Delegates Convened in Kigali, Rwanda, from July 11 to 15.
We, the members of SIGNIS Africa gathered as Catholic communication professionals in Africa, with gratitude to God, have deliberated on the theme: "Communication, Synodality and Church in Africa". This theme stemmed from the ongoing synodal path of the universal Church announced by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The process is rooted in the path of communion, the active participation and collaboration of all Christ's faithful in the mission of saving souls and achieving eternal salvation. The focus of the Assembly was to outline viable ways to encourage unity in the journey of faith on the African continent through various means of communication. The event was attended by participants from our various African countries.
Acknowledging with gratitude the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, Archbishop of Kigali; Bishop Filippe Rukamba of the Diocese of Butare, President of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda; Bishop Edouard Sinayobye of the Diocese of Cyangugu, President of the Episcopal Commission for Communication of Rwanda; Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of the Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria, President of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Affairs
Communications (CEPACS), and Bro. Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, Minister of Local Administration of Rwanda.
Thanking the presence of Msgr. Janvier Yameogo of the Dicastery for Communication, Vatican City; Fr. Dr. Paul Samasumo, Vice President of SIGNIS World and staff member of the Dicastery for Communication, Vatican City; Rev. Mr. Prof. Dominic Dipio of Makerere University, Uganda, and Rev. Fr. Bernardo Suate, staff member of the Dicastery for Communication, Vatican City and former Director of SIGNIS Services in Rome.
Moved by the testimonies shared with us and our visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, we pledge to always use the media to promote a culture of peace.
Inspired by the rapid infrastructure and technological and social development in Rwanda, a few years after the tragic events of the genocide, we believe that a new and better Africa is possible. Despite how short our stay was, we gained useful insights and learned deep lessons about the Rwandan nation.
Inform all SIGNIS Africa members that the so far interim constitution of SIGNIS-Africa signed in 2019 at the SIGNIS Africa Congress in Addis Ababa has been ratified and adopted as the substantive legal document to guide and regulate the operations of the association.
Encouraged by the ratification, elections were held based on the new constitution for the new board of directors of SIGNIS Africa. The following officers were duly elected by secret ballot for the next four-year term:
Rev. Father. Prof. Walter Ihejirika, Nigeria – President
Rev. Father. Alberto Buque, Mozambique –Vice President
Rev. Father. Dieu-Donne Kofi Davor, Ghana – Secretary General/Treasurer Rev. Fr. Webb Amouzou, Côte d'Ivoire – Member (RECOWA region)
Hna. Adelaide Ndilu, Kenya – Member (AMCEA region)
Rev. Father. Fidele Mutambazi, Rwanda – Member (ACEAC region)
Brother Alfonce Kugwa, Zimbabwe - Member (IMBISA region)
Synod on Synodality
In his opening address, Bishop Badejo stated that the ongoing Universal Church Synod on Synodality is a communication project that challenges media professionals in Africa to devise practical ways to give a voice to those marginalized by some of our ecclesiastical structures and in society in general. This calls us to a new way of being Church.
Delegates were further enlightened on the need to see the media as a true and viable evangelization tool, the effective use of which will help the Church fulfill its missionary mandate (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
In the various sessions and presentations, the participants were enlightened on the worrying realities of the division in the African continent that has had catastrophic consequences that adversely affect the well-being of God's people.
At the end of our Congress and Assembly of Delegates, the members of SIGNIS Africa raised these concerns and recommendations:
We advance the following recommendations. Namely,
To African Catholic CommunicatorsIn the spirit of synodality, all Catholic communication structures in Africa must prioritize introspection and achieve a more inclusive and participatory Church. This also means bringing more women and youth into our governance structures. All Catholic communicators on the continent must be constantly aware that listening is essential. Walking together in synodality implies listening on a deeper level to all people without prejudice. We recommend that all national episcopal conferences adopt the Nigerian and Burkina Faso model of commemorating World Communication Day for a whole week instead of celebrating one day. The week-long commemoration distributed in parishes can be used for media education and various awareness-raising activities in Church communications. Social communication is the servant of the evangelizing mission of the Church. As Catholic communicators in Africa, we renew our availability as communicators at the parish, diocesan, national, regional and continental levels to further the mission of the Church. Our call is for the Church in general to adopt and incorporate social communications in all pastoral activities. Synodality is about respectfully approaching the other. We encourage our Catholic communicators in Africa to learn more than one international language and cultivate a spirit of networking. This will help build bridges, foster the exchange of media projects, and ensure efficient engagement in our service to the Church and humanity.
To African society in generalWe continue to watch with anguish and utter disapproval the unprovoked, relentless and senseless attacks, kidnappings and killings against defenseless citizens and in particular Christians in many African countries such as Nigeria and Burkina Faso, indeed the entire Sahel region. We strongly urge African governments to achieve sanity and security. In building the new Africa we want, African governments, groups and individuals must strive to transcend the artificial land borders to which the legacies of colonialism have subjected the continent. Now is the time to pursue all the lofty ideals of connectivity that the African Union has often talked about but rarely implemented. As Africans, we are proud of our identity, we celebrate and promote our values and esteem our dignity as people of noble heritage. This is a mantra worth promoting in our schools, churches, and communities.
The members of SIGNIS Africa thank God for the success of this Congress. Thanks to all the communicators who sacrificed themselves to attend this important meeting. Our hosts, Rwanda, exceeded our expectations and we thank the Bishops of the Rwandan Episcopal Conference for their support and encouragement. We thank all the groups and individuals who have contributed to the success of this Congress. We remain indebted to the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which, over the years, has partnered with and accompanied our communication projects by providing much-needed funding.
Finally, we wish success to the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in its next Assembly in Accra, Ghana. We pray for God's fatherly blessings and guidance on all his people in Africa and the world. We entrust all our communication efforts to the intercession of Our Lady of Kibeho.
Delivered today, July 15, 2022 and Signed by:
Rev. Father. Prof. Walter C. Ihejirika President, SIGNIS Africa
Pope Francis has named three women, two nuns and a lay woman, to a previously all-male committee that advises him in selecting the world’s bishops, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
He, however, disclosed the decision in an exclusive interview with Reuters earlier this month, explaining that he wanted to give women more senior and influential positions in the Holy See.
The three women are, sister Raffaella Petrini, an Italian who is currently the deputy governor of the Vatican City, French nun Yvonne Reungoat, a former superior general of a religious order, and Italian lay woman, Maria Lia Zervino, president of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations, UMOFC.
Meanwhile, the three women were among the 14 people appointed to the Dicastery for Bishops, which vets candidates and advises the pope on which priests should become bishops.
The other 11 appointed were cardinals, bishops and priests.
According to the Vitican, the terms last for five years, before Wednesday’s announcement of the 14 names, there were more than 20 members.
The total fluctuates as terms expire but usually the committee numbers between about 25 and 30.
It added that the process starts locally where bishops suggest to archbishops the names of priests they think would make good bishops.
The list then goes to the Vatican nuncio, or ambassador, in a country, who further investigates the person and sends his recommendations to the Vatican.
The members of the committee, who come from around the world, meet in Rome about twice a month and send their recommendations to the pope, who makes the final decision.
“This way, things are opening up a bit,’’ Francis said in the July 2 interview with Reuters in his residence, when he disclosed his decision to name women to the decision-making part of the bishops department.
Apart from Petrini, who as deputy governor is the most powerful woman in the world’s smallest state, Francis has already named a number of women, both nuns and lay women, to Vatican departments.
In 2021, he named Italian nun, Sister Alessandra Smerilli to the number two position in the Vatican’s development office, which deals with justice and peace issues.
In addition, Francis has named Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, as co-undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, which prepares major meetings of world bishops held every few years.
Lay women already holding top jobs in the Vatican include Barbara Jatta, the first female director of the Vatican Museums, and Cristiane Murray, the deputy director of the Vatican Press Office, both were appointed by Francis. (
President Uhuru Kenyatta will co-chair tomorrow, Monday June 27, the second United Nations Conference on the Oceans in Lisbon with his counterpart from Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
The conference, co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya, initially scheduled for 2020 but postponed until this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, aims to accelerate the adoption of innovative science-based solutions to the challenges facing face the oceans. and the global marine ecosystem.
Speaking before the arrival of the Kenyan Head of State in Lisbon, the Kenyan Ambassador to Portugal, Professor Judi Wakhungu, revealed that in addition to the UN meeting, President Uhuru Kenyatta will pay a two-day state visit to the Portuguese Republic on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Our two Heads of State will preside over the high-level opening of the ocean conference together with the UN Secretary-General."
“This is very special. It is historic because this is the first time in history that a Kenyan Head of State has been recognized by our hosts, the Republic of Portugal,” Professor Wakhungu said in reference to the two-day state visit.
Ambassador Wakhungu said that despite the global meeting being postponed twice in the past due to COVID-19, Kenya and Portugal were ready to co-host a successful UN Ocean Conference in 2022. two countries were declared hosts of the conference after the inaugural 2017 UN Ocean Conference, co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden in New York.
“I have to applaud Portugal and Kenya for staying the course, for their tenacity and finally hosting this important meeting,” said Professor Wakhungu, who also serves as Kenya's envoy to France, Serbia, Vatican City and Monaco.
The oceans cover up to 70 percent of the Earth's surface and are home to more than 80 percent of all life on the world. They generate 50 percent of the oxygen that humans need, absorb 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and capture 90 percent of the heat generated by anthropogenic activities.
As such, Professor Wakhungu said that the oceans are a key aspect of human life, emphasizing the importance of the conference not only for Kenya but for the world, especially now that humanity is increasingly facing the negative impacts of climate change.
“The conference is mainly focused on Sustainable Development Goal 14. All the Sustainable Development Goals are connected, but 14 is specifically about the oceans… More than 70 percent of the earth is ocean. Sometimes we take this for granted, but in fact it is very important,” Professor Wakhungu said, adding that 30 of the 54 African countries are maritime nations. Globally, there are 83 maritime nations.
Ambassador Wakhungu said that Kenya had prioritized the blue economy as a key driver of its socio-economic transformation agenda, adding that the conference builds on the successes of the inaugural UN Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi in 2018.
“Kenya registered its intention to make the blue economy an integral part of our livelihoods. We must protect our marine life, marine safety is important to Kenya," said Professor Wakhungu.
He added: “Our maritime training needs to be improved. Most importantly, we must protect our oceans from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, which remains a scarcity in our marine ecosystems. But also very important, from an environmental point of view, we must expand our marine protected areas”.
Professor Wakhungu said that Kenya was globally recognized for its green strategy, which she said the country was expanding to include the blue economy in order to further its sustainable development agenda.
“Now we are combining green and blue. We signaled our intention to raise the blue economy strategy to global standards when our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, hosted the 2018 UN Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi," he said.
In the two-day state visit, Professor Wakhungu said that President Kenyatta will lead a Kenyan delegation for bilateral talks with their Portuguese hosts during which various agreements in areas such as tourism, education and training, trade, culture will be reached and signed. , transport and communication.
“At the same time, we will also promote trade and investment between Kenya and Portugal. Our two countries have continued to improve and enrich their bilateral relations,” said Professor Wakhungu.
A powerful earthquake struck a remote border region of Afghanistan overnight, killing at least 920 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said on Wednesday, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers dig into homes. collapsed.
The 5.9-magnitude quake hit hardest in the rugged terrain to the east, where people are already living in difficult conditions in a country mired in a humanitarian disaster made worse by the Taliban's seizure of power in August.
The death toll has risen steadily throughout the day as news of casualties trickled in from hard-to-reach areas in the mountains, with the country's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada warning it was likely to rise further.
"So far, the information we have is that at least 920 people have been martyred and 600 injured," Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy minister for disaster management, told a news conference in the capital Kabul.
Earlier, a tribal leader from Paktika province, one of the hardest-hit areas, said survivors and rescuers were rushing to help those affected.
"Local markets are closed and all the people have rushed to the affected areas," Yaqub Manzor told AFP by phone.
Photographs and video clips posted on social media showed dozens of badly damaged mud houses in remote rural areas.
Some footage showed local residents loading the victims into a military helicopter.
Offers of help Even before the Taliban took power, Afghanistan's emergency response teams went to great lengths to deal with the natural disasters that frequently hit the country.
But with only a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters, immediate response is often limited.
"The government is working within its capabilities," tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official.
"We hope that the international community and aid agencies will also help our people in this desperate situation."
The United Nations and the European Union were quick to offer help.
"Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to several affected areas," tweeted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan.
Tomas Niklasson, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, tweeted: "The EU is monitoring the situation and stands ready to coordinate and provide EU emergency assistance to affected people and communities."
Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
Dozens of people were killed and injured in January when two earthquakes rattled rural areas in western Badghis province, damaging hundreds of buildings.
In 2015, more than 380 people died in Pakistan and Afghanistan when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the two countries, with the majority of deaths in Pakistan.
From Vatican City, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the latest earthquake.
"I express my closeness to the injured and those affected," the 85-year-old pontiff said at the end of his weekly audience.
The latest earthquake came at a time when Afghanistan is grappling with a serious humanitarian disaster, made worse by the Taliban's takeover of the country.
Aid agencies and the United Nations say Afghanistan needs billions of dollars this year to deal with the crisis.
Aid agencies have particularly emphasized the need for greater disaster preparedness in Afghanistan, which remains extremely susceptible to recurrent earthquakes, floods and landslides.
The quake was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, 480 kilometers (300 miles) from the epicenter, according to responses posted on the USGS and European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) websites.
Vatican discloses uses of Pope’s fund, hoping to reverse sagging trust
Vatican City, June 16, 2022 The Vatican, on Thursday issued the first detailed disclosure of Pope’s main fund in attempt to boost the confidence of faithful in how their charitable contributions were used.
The Peter’s Pence fund, whose aim was to help the Pope run the Church, was made up of income from a collection taken up in Roman Catholic dioceses around the world once a year, individual contribution and inheritances and bequests.
According to the “Annual Disclosure” for 2021, contributions amounted to 46.9 million euros.
Compared to previously released figures, this was down more than 15 per cent over 2020, which was down 18 per cent over 2019. That followed a 23 per cent reduction between 2015 and 2019, according to the disclosure.
Disbursements from the fund totalled 65.3 million euros, leaving a deficit of 18.4 million euros which was covered by other Vatican income.
The Vatican’s economy minister, Father Antonio Guerrero, had said the slump in 2020-2021 was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when many churches were closed.
Many Catholics, however, said they had stopped contributing because of Vatican financial scandals such as one surrounding the purchase of a building in London, an investment at the centre of an ongoing corruption trial.
Guerrero said the finances of the Vatican had to be a “glass house”, adding the faithful have a “right to know how we use resources”.
Significantly, the disclosure for the first time, detailed how the money was spent.
About 55.5 million euros was used to help defray the costs of running Vatican departments, its embassies around the world, its communications structure and to help local churches.
About 10 million euros from Peter’s Pence went to 157 direct assistance projects, including those to help the poor, children, elderly and victims of natural disasters and war.
According to the disclosure, most of the projects were in Africa and Asia.
The disclosure gave details of some of the direct assistance projects, such as one constructing a building for young people in Haiti and another to end online sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in the Philippines.
The changes in transparency regarding Peter’s Pence stemmed from a decree by Pope Francis in December 2020.
The Vatican had been facing series of issues some of which were clerical abuse and its handling, the new translation of the Roman Missal, the Bishop Bill Morris affair, the reining in of Caritas, the censure in the United States of the group representing religious sisters and of the work of two women theologians.
Some pressing issues also included, the silencing of prominent Irish priests and the cleaning out of the Irish College in Rome, the public disquiet expressed by clergy in Austria and Ireland, the sacking of the head of the Vatican Bank, the steady leaking of confidential Roman documents.
On May 12, a former Harford County church priest was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for coercing a boy, a parishioner to engage in sexual activities with him for nearly two-years.
Fernando Cristancho was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in Colombia, South America, in 1985, before moving to Alexandria, where he worked as an assistant priest from 1994 to 1997.
Pope ‘heartbroken’ by Texas school shooting, calls for gun control
Pope ‘heartbroken’ by Texas school shooting, calls for gun control
Vatican City, May 25, 2022 Pope Francis on Wednesday said he was “heartbroken” by the shooting at a school in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two teachers, calling for greater controls on weapons.
Francis said of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas “I am heartbroken by the massacre at the elementary school in Texas. I pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families.
“It is time to say ‘enough’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all make a commitment so that tragedies like this cannot happen again.’’
Speaking from the White House hours after the shooting, a visibly shaken President Joe Biden urged Americans to stand up to the politically powerful gun lobby, which he blamed for blocking enactment of tougher firearms safety laws.
Francis has often taken on the weapons industry. In 2015 he said people who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian. (