Papal envoy says Afghan refugees need aid now
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, has appealed for immediate aid for Afghan refugees upon his return from a visit to Pakistan as John Paul II's special envoy.
On 27 October, Archbishop Cordes met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, local Catholic leaders, and directors of Catholic humanitarian groups supplying aid to Afghan refugees. Many refugees had fled their country after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
He celebrated Mass in the Rawalpindi cathedral with the bishops and Pakistani Catholic community "to break the chains of hatred and injustice and implore for the gift of peace."
Speaking on Vatican Radio, the archbishop said: "For me, the most tragic fact is that [the refugees] have no future. The sense of depression among them is great because they don't know where to go and perhaps they will not even be able to return to Afghanistan.
"We must think of winter, which is approaching, and the cold brings with it many dangers for human life. It is absolutely necessary to continue supplying aid to the refugees."
On several occasions, Archbishop Cordes read the papal message sent to Catholics in Pakistan, expressing the Pope's closeness to them and assuring them of his prayers.