BY A STAFF REPORTER THE Administrator of the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development this week blamed lack of enthusiasm by parish priests for a £10,000 drop in Family Fast Day receipts.
Mr. Noel Charles, speaking at a press conference introducing a seminar on world poverty, said Lenten Appeal donations had fallen to £72,000 since 1967.
"Cafod is completely dependent on the goodwill of parish priests. I fear many of them do not appreciate the im• portance of the Fund."
Many priests do not make any appeal at all for Family Fast Day and literature about Cafod's work lies undistributed at the back of churches, he said. Though mnney coming from parishes has fallen, individual donations have risen to make up the difference.
Mr. Charles is hopeful that Cafod's new illustrated newspaper describing how the Fund uses its £300,000 annual income on projects in 85 countries, will prove to be a successful idea.
The seminar at Nottingham University, attended by more than 80 religious and lay people, was aimed at increasing Catholic awareness of underdeveloped countries and their needs.
Sir Bernard Braine, MP, described world poverty as "the most important problem facing the human race, and quoted
President Kennedy's saying: "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich," Bishop Ellis of Nottingham, who opened the Seminar, was introduced by Bishop Grant of Northampton, President of the Mission Commission. Bishop Mahon, Auxiliary of Westminster, former superior of the Mill Hill Fathers, read a paper on missions and development.
USEFUL Mr. Charles has recently returned from a meeting of Cor Unum, the Vatican body recently set up to help coordinate Catholic overseas aid and initially criticised as representing a bid for Curial control of projects.
"I believe it can perform a useful function," he said.
He described the plan for an international Catholic emergency fund to help rush aid to disaster areas, a scheme that will be on Cor Unum's agenda at its next meeting in Rome this year.