Funding Stepped Up To Curb Spread Of Islam: Welt
By Khaled Schmitt, IOL Correspondent
BERLIN, May 31 (IslamOnline) – A German paper reported that the Vatican has been pumping huge amounts of funds into a very influential institution of the Catholic Church to halt the spread of Islam across the world.
In a report headlined "A million against Muhammad", Welt am Sonntag said Sunday, May 30, that huge amounts of money will be allotted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a reportedly secret organization.
The report, prepared by Andreas Englisch, said the organization is now mainly concerned with stemming the rising reversion to Islam by tarnishing the image of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Rome-based organization, ostensibly directed to study the relation between Islam and Christianity, is the only international body working for fueling tension between followers of the two faiths, it added.
The paper said the organization is getting a wide support from world governments and decision-makers to help it further promote Catholicism, proselytization and carry out statistics and comparison studies on the spread of Islam and Christianity in the world.
This marks a change of perception towards the group, which had been ignored, with Foreign Ministers declining to meet its representatives since its establishment by Pope Pius VI in 1966-1572, it added.
The pope had wanted to use the congregation for spreading Catholicism and proselytize other peoples in new methods, the paper said.
The German newspaper said that the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples depend on "merciless" administrative methods for its work, the same the publication likened to those used by army soldiers.
It cited the congregation's prefect Crescenzio Sepe calling the members of the organization as "my soldiers".
The word was not uttered randomly, but rather with a significance of the work of the organization, the paper said, noting that the congregation directly supervises 1,081 dioceses secretly working in countries that ban Catholic activities.
The publication named Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China, Vietnam and Cambodia as some of these countries, saying that 40 per cent of Christians support the organization's activities across the world.
It said that 85,000 bishops and priests and 450,000 administrative workers, all have helped prepare 65,000 priests in 280 courses made over last years.
Serving this huge number of staffers is "another army" comprising one million ordinary people, with each earning 30 dollars as a basic monthly pay in return for moving across towns and villages for proselytizing the poor and marginalized, the paper averred.
The organization has also a large infrastructure, including 42,000 schools, 1,600 hospitals, 6,000 first-aid medical centers and 780 others for treating cases inflicted with hepatitis, and 12,000 offices for helping the poor and needy, the paper said.
Welt am Sonntag gave an extensive account of the organization's schools in Asia and Africa, ways which the paper said are the best for proselytizing and spreading Catholicism.
The paper said that Cardinal Sepe inaugurated one of these schools last week in Doha, Qatar, with 4,000 students a third of whom are Christians.
Sepe, who staged the celebration of John Paul’s 50th anniversary as a priest in 1996, then said that the school is mainly introducing to students a high-level education allowing them to be open minded and unaffected by the stigma on Christianity.
Unlike the Doha school, where forms of proselytizing are avoided in line with the Arab Gulf country's laws, other schools are built in Asian countries – especially India – clearly to turn pupils into Christians.
A lot of funds is given for the construction of these schools, but the money is deemed well-invested to pay off in ending the spread of Islam, said the paper.
The organization has a budget of 500 million dollars annually, mainly earmarked for proselytizing and stemming the conversion to Islam, the paper concluded.