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Rome Reports

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Aid to the Church in Need: We're trying to rebuild hearts hardened by hate


Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) stops the bleeding. At the presentation of its annual report, the organization exposed severe, forgotten conflicts, like those in India. 

A large portion of ACN's 2017 proceeds have been dedicated to the country. There, Christians are the minority, composing only 2.7 percent of the population. The organization reports an “atmosphere of persecution” and that the number of anti-Christian attacks exceeded 700 in the past year. 

THOMAS HEINE-GELDERN
Executive President, Aid to the Church in Need
“They are oppresed by the whole system and by ongoing radicalization of the Hindus. And I can tell you what I've seen: they really deserve our help. It's a very, very serious situation.”

Ukraine is another one of the countries that Aid to the Church in Need has helped most. Its situation is dramatic. More than one-and-a-half million internal refugees are screaming for help, but their cry barely seems to reach the West. Sixty percent of those forced to abandon their homes are retired. 

The two countries who have received the most aid are Syria and Iraq. In Iraq, they're working for their country to rise from the ashes. If reconstructing buildings is difficult, it remains to be seen to what extent hearts damaged by religious radicalization can be rebuilt. 

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, president of Aid to the Church in Need, reminded this mission had previously been carried out, and they will now work to do so once again. 

CARD. MAURO PIACENZA
International President, Aid to the Church in Need
“The roots of Aid to the Church in Need go back to 1947, when the need for reconciliation and peace moved Pius XII to promote an aid institution. Families had to be rebuilt, orphans and widows had to be taken in, the elderly had to be helped. It was reconstructing consciences hardened by hate and resentment, and above all, by the poison of ideology.”

To make this mission reality, ACN and the other non-Catholic Churches have developed the Marshall Plan for Christians in Iraq, an aid plan for feeding 95,000 people from the Nineveh Plains and financing the reconstruction of 200 dwellings. 

The project aims to help them both materially and spiritually to heal the scars left by ISIS in their country.