20 September 2005

Pope's envoy shameful of US.

Pope's Katrina envoy: 'Shameful' poverty in U.S.

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI's envoy to the United States to bring aid for Hurricane Katrina's victims said Saturday that many of them have been struck by "shameful" poverty in "rich America."

The German-born Archbishop Paul Cordes, who heads the Vatican's charity organization, traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi last week to express the pontiff's solidarity with the victims as well as bring aid.

He said that Catholic Charities had allocated $6 million (euro4.9 million).

"Many were struck by ... poverty, at times shameful, in rich America," Cordes told Vatican Radio.

"I do not want to hide my personal fear -- that the superpower isolates itself and remains isolated even in dealing with the disaster," Cordes said. "In this dramatic emergency, the United States must not be abandoned."

Cordes spent four days touring Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi.

"The weakness experienced by the United States faced with this catastrophe" serves to "destroy all of our beliefs about self-sufficiency," the Vatican official said. "Thus, for me, in the bad part of this event there is also the hope, for many citizens, of seeing that the world is greater than the United States," Cordes said.

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