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Pell announces $100,000 aid for fire victims

Sydney's Archbishop George Pell has announced that $100,000 from the Archdiocesan Charitable Works Fund disaster budget will be provided to Centacare to assist in providing counselling and support for those suffering the trauma and shock of this devastation.

Stressing that it is also important to continue providing practical support, he asked parishes of the Archdiocese to continue their prayers in solidarity with all those affected by the horrendous bushfires.

Writing in The Catholic Weekly, Dr Pell described bushfires as "part of the Australian story", suggesting that they are "immensely destructive" and "bring out the best and worst in people".

"It is only right and just that the hard work, skill and bravery of our firefighters, professional and volunteer, and all the support staff from the police and military and other volunteer organisations should be widely acknowledged," he said. "With the Catholic community of Sydney, I would like to add my own few words of admiration and thanks for their mighty efforts." He described arson as "the ultimate act of vandalism", a remote, hidden and cowardly cause of great damage and suffering. He said public opinion "is right to be completely intolerant of these malefactors".

Catholic Weekly