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British government pressed on spending foreign-aid funds for papal trip

CWN - February 03, 2011

The British government is being pressed for an explanation of why funds appropriated for foreign aid had been used to help underwrite last year’s visit by Pope Benedict XVI.

Government officials had originally estimated an expense of about £10 million for the papal visit. Actual costs appear to have been lower, but some lawmakers are questioning why £1.89 was allocated from the Department for International Development. A spokesman for that department offered this explanation: “Our contribution recognized the Catholic Church's role as a major provider of health and education services in developing countries.”

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