Pope calls for faith and charity

Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 00:00

Lenten message: Faith and charity are “two theological virtues” which “are intimately linked”, Pope Benedict has said in his final Lenten message before his planned resignation.

Addressing the theme: “Believing in charity calls forth charity”, he said: “It is clear that we can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity . . . and it is misleading to posit a contrast or ‘dialectic’ between them.

“On the one hand, it would be too one-sided to place a strong emphasis on the priority and decisiveness of faith and to undervalue and almost despise concrete works of charity, reducing them to a vague humanitarianism.

“On the other hand, though, it is equally unhelpful to overstate the primacy of charity and the activity it generates, as if works could take the place of faith.

“For a healthy spiritual life, it is necessary to avoid both fideism and moral activism.”

Rekindle faith

Pope Benedict also expressed his wish that believers used the occasion to rekindle their faith in Jesus Christ.

“The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love.

“Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term ‘charity’ to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelisation, which is the ‘ministry of the word’.

“There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbour than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelisation is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person.”

Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, and lasts 40 days until Easter Sunday, March 31st. Trócaire is marking four decades of Irish support for its annual Lenten campaign which begins today.

Search for justice

Justin Kilcullen, the executive director of Trócaire, said: “When Trócaire was established by the Irish Bishops Conference in February 1973, its aim was not just to feed the hungry, but to question why they had no food.

“ This search for justice has been our driving force ever since,” Mr Kilcullen added.

This year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign was launched by children from Northampton National School, Kinvara, Co Galway, who won a national competition to have their design featured on the 40th anniversary Trócaire box.