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                                            PONTIFICAL COUNCIL COR UNUM

                                             for Human and Christian Development



Charity enables us to see in the poor and needy the face of Jesus Christ, who reminds us, "I was hungry, thirsty, lonely, and you helped me (cf. Mt. 25:36).

Through faith in Jesus Christ, who "gave his life for us" (1 Jn 3:16), the history of the Church gives evidence of the springing forth of countless initiatives of Charity.  To this very day, Christians around the world care for the poor and the needy in ways ranging from the simple witness of the many  faithful to the activity of large Catholic Organizations.  This splendid diversity of initiatives and actions of Christian charity is to "bear the mark of a commitment of the whole Church and full faithfulness to the whole evangelical  Message" (Paul VI, 1972).



"So we were able to give your ecclesial action for aid... the name of COR UNUM, "one heart", a heart that beats in rhythm with the heart of Christ, whose pity for the hungry multitudes reaches them even in their spiritual hunger"  (Paul VI, 1972).

"You are in a certain sense the eye that spots the multiple "poverties".  You are the heart that has compassion and wants to do for the other who is in need, what one would wish for oneself.  You are the hand that is stretched out fraternally and gives practical help" (John Paul II, 1984).



The Pontifical Council COR UNUM for Human and Christian Development was established by Pope Paul VI with his Letter of Institution Amoris officio, dated 15 July 1971.



COR UNUM expresses "the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ" (Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, art. 145).



  • To assist the Pope and be his instrument for carrying out special initiatives in the field of humanitarian actions when disasters occur, or in the field of integral human promotion;

  • To foster the catechesis of Charity and encourage the faithful to give a concrete witness to evangelical charity;

  • To encourage and coordinate the initiatives of Catholic Organizations through the exchange of information and by promoting fraternal cooperation in favour of integral human development.



The Dicastery carries out the following activities.

For the promotion and animation of the catechesis of Charity:

  • preparation and diffusion of the yearly Lenten Message of the Holy Father;

  • promotion and encouragement of theological reflection among Pastors in order to strengthen the Christian roots of Charity;

  • fostering and supporting volunteer service.

For the carrying out of the dispositions of the Holy Father to distribute funds  -which are the results of the spontaneous generosity of the faithful- for disaster-oriented relief and support of integral human promotion in developing countries:

-           donations in 1995:        US$              760,000

-           donations in 1996:        US$               700,000

-           donations in 1997:        US$            1,720,000

-           donations in 1998:        US$            1,237,000  

-           donations in 1999:        US$            1,766,700

-           donations in 2000:        US$            1,916,605

-           donations in 2001:        US$            2,031,900

-           donations in 2002:        US$            3,930,076

-           donations in 2003:        US$            1,680,688

In 1984, the Holy Father established the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel that strives to work against drought and desertification.


In 1992, the Holy Father also founded the Populorum Progressio Foundation, which is at the service of indigenous, racially-mixed, Afro-American and the poor campesinos  of Latin America and the Caribbean.


He has entrusted these Foundations to the care of the Pontifical Council COR UNUM.



The President, Secretary, Under-secretary, Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council COR UNUM are appointed by the Holy Father for a period of five years.

Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes is President of the Council, Monsignor Karel Kasteel Secretary  and Monsignor Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, Under-Secretary. The Council has 38 members, 6 consultors and a permanent staff of 9.




Palazzo San Calisto

Piazza San Calisto

I-00153 Rome, Italy


Pontifical Council COR UNUM

Palazzo San Calisto

V-00120 Vatican City State

TEL.      +3906 698 89411

FAX    +3906 698 87301