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Government programs cannot replace private charity, Pope says

March 08, 2010

Government programs can never replace private charity, Pope Benedict XVI said at an audience on March 6.

The Holy Father met on Saturday, March 6, with members of the Italian volunteer group known as the Civil Protection, and thanked them for their service in helping earthquake survivors in the Abruzzo region last year, guiding pilgrims during World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, and helping with details of the funeral for Pope John Paul II in 2005. The Pope praised the volunteer group as "one of the most recent and mature expressions of the long tradition of solidarity that has its roots in the altruism and generosity of the Italian people."

"Volunteers are not just there to patch up holes in the social fabric," the Pope said. Their work serves the much more important goal of "forming the human and Christian face of society."

"Without voluntary work the common good and society cannot last long," the Pope said, "because their progress and dignity is largely dependent on people who do more than just their duty."


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