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Catholic institutions in ruins, says nuncio to Haiti

Catholic World News - January 14, 2010

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio in Haiti, has offered a first-hand account of the devastation caused by the earthquake that shook Port-au-Prince on January 12.

“Port-au-Prince is completely devastated,” he said. “The cathedral, the archbishop's residence, all the great churches, all the seminaries are reduced to rubble. The pastor of the cathedral, who survived the earthquake, told me that the archbishop of Port-au-Prince perished under the rubble, along with hundreds of seminarians and priests who are under the rubble.”

He continued:

I found priests and nuns in the streets, without homes. The rector of the seminary survived, as did the dean of studies, but the seminarians are under the rubble. Everywhere, you can hear cries from under the rubble. The CIFOR-- Institute of Studies for the Men and Women Religious-- has collapsed with the students inside, participating in a conference. The nunciature building has withstood the earthquake, without any injuries, but we are all amazed! So many things are broken, including the tabernacle, but we are more fortunate than others. Many family members of the staff were killed, their homes destroyed. Everyone is calling for help. We will have problems of water and food before long. We cannot enter or stay inside the house much, as the earth continues to shake, so we are camped in the garden.

The nation of 8.8 million is 80% Catholic; the Church in Haiti has ten dioceses, 338 parishes, 791 priests, 1,851 sisters, and 421 seminarians.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jan. 14, 2010 11:44 PM ET USA

    Pat Robertson said that years ago Haiti had been under the heel of the French which was a reason the country was off to a bad start. I took this to be a crack at Catholicism. That being said, I can't give the Catholic Church high scores for helping to lift Haitians out of poverty. Maybe we should let the Protestants go in there as they seem to do a better job of preaching Christ and the ethic, "Work as if you are going to live forever. Pray as if you will die tomorrow."

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jan. 14, 2010 7:05 PM ET USA

    It is incumbent on us to make certain these people are made whole, and that the Church is in the forefront of the relief effort.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 14, 2010 3:15 PM ET USA

    Until this very moment I had no idea that Haiti was 80% Catholic. The MSM never mention it. And maybe that explains Pat Robertson's delicate assessment that Haiti had long ago made a pact with the Devil.

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