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Pope tells Caritas leaders: work with the Church

Catholic World News - May 27, 2011

Speaking on May 27 to the general assembly of Caritas International, Pope Benedict XVI underlined the fact that Caritas “differs from other social agencies in that it is ecclesial; it shares in the mission of the Church.”

As the international aid consortium of Catholic relief agencies celebrates its 60th anniversary, Pope Benedict pointed to two key moments in the history of Caritas International. First was its founding by Pope Pius XII in the aftermath of World War II "to demonstrate the solidarity and concern of the entire Church in the face of so many situations of conflict and emergency in the world.” Next, the Pope remarked was the decision by Pope John Paul II to give the agency official canonical status. At that time, the Pontiff observed, Caritas “took on a particular role in the heart of the ecclesial community.

Because of the group’s special status, the Pope continued, “the Holy See is also responsible for following its activity and exercising oversight.” During this year’s Caritas assembly, the Vatican has made a determined effort to sharpen that oversight, and especially to ensure that Caritas International preserves its distinctive Catholic identity.

Pope Benedict spoke at some length about that identity during his address to the Caritas delegates. He reminded them that Christian charity is not merely benevolent work, but also a form of evangelization and a service to God’s People. “Without a transcendent foundation, without a reference to God the Creator, without an appreciation of our eternal destiny, we risk falling prey to harmful ideologies,” he said.

The Pope also reminded the delegates that Caritas is “an organization charged with fostering communion between the universal Church and the particular churches, as well as communion between all the faithful in the exercise of charity.” He encouraged them to work “in close collaboration with the Church’s pastors” in all their relief efforts.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - May. 29, 2011 9:42 AM ET USA

    Throughout history, our Lord has always placed the right person in the right place at the right time. He has given us Pope Benedict in our hour of great need! Pray that our Church - and the world - will heed his admonitions and instructions! I believe our Lord speaks through him.

  • Posted by: New Sister - May. 28, 2011 6:29 AM ET USA

    God has truly blessed His Church with such a *Pastor*, our Holy Father, Benedict XVI – long may he reign!

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