Friday, 25 November 2011

Pope's call to fraternity (brotherhood/sisterhood)

Article by Marc Aupiais

The pope has in passing mentioned that fraternity was the answer to the economic crisis: here is his statement in context. Paragraphing added:

"Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) -

"This is the Christian distinctive: faith that becomes active in charity. Each of you is called to give his contribution so that the love with which we are always and forever loved by God becomes hard work of life, strength of service, sense of responsibility": this is Holy Father Benedict XVI's exhortation to those attending the meeting sponsored by the Italian Caritas, received at the hearing on November 24, on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the organization.

In his speech, the Pope emphasized "the important educational role" assigned to Caritas "to communities, families, civil society where the Church is called to shed her light. This involves taking responsibility for educating people to the good life of the Gospel, and that life is good only if it includes the witness of charity". He then recalled the work method adopted in the past four decades, "based on three interrelated and mutually reinforced attention: listen, observe, discern ...

This is a style that makes it possible to act pastorally but also to pursue a deep and fruitful dialogue with the various areas of church life, with the associations, movements and the diverse world of organized voluntary".

Recalling the pages of the Gospel, that narrate the various "gestures" carried out by Jesus, the Holy Father said that "Jesus' gestures, signs are deeply-rooted to the pedagogical function of Caritas. Through concrete signs, in fact, you speak, evangelize, educate. A work of charity speaks of God, it announces hope and induces us to ask questions".

He then wished the members of the Caritas of "knowing how to best cultivate the qualities of the works" and know how to make "talk'', especially taking care of the inner motivation that animates them, and the quality of the testimony that emanates from them. Such works are born of the faith. They are works of the Church, expressions of her concern for those who suffer most. There are educational acts because they help the poor to grow in dignity, Christian communities to follow Christ and civil society to shoulder its obligations ...

The Church's humble and concrete service does not seek to substitute, even less to assuage, collective and civil conscience, but accompanies them with a spirit of sincere collaboration, and with due concern for autonomy and subsidiarity".

In the concluding section of his speech, the Pope focused on the need to be able to "read the evolution of people's lives", as "charity requires an open mind, broad vision, insight and foresight, a « heart which sees»".

And he explained:

"Responding to needs means not only giving bread to the hungry, but also asking ourselves about the reasons one for their hunger, using the gaze of Jesus, Who could see the profound truth of the people around Him... Our thoughts cannot but go to the vast world of migration. Natural calamities and wars often create emergencies.

The global economic crisis is a further sign of the times which calls for the courage of fraternity.

The gap between the north and south of the world and the wounded human dignity of so many people call for a charity able to expand in concentric circles from the small to large economic systems to the great. Increasing poverty, the weakening of families, and the uncertainty faced by the young all point to the risk of diminishing hope.

Humankind needs not only benefactors, but also humble practical people who, like Jesus, stand alongside their brothers and sisters and share their fatigue. In a word, humanity is looking for signs of hope. The source of our hope is in the Lord.

This is why we need Caritas, not to delegate it with the responsibility for charitable service, but for it to be a sign of Christ's charity, a sign that brings hope". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 25/11/2011)


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