February 6, 2013

Faith and charity

Charity can exist without faith but faith without charity is illusory. That fundamental truth was underlined by Pope Benedict XVI in his message for Lent in which he said faith and charity are coupled and inseparable.

Published in Editorial

VATICAN CITY - Faith and charity can never be separated nor opposed to each other, just as faith by itself isn't genuine without charity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Deploring war, civil conflict and poverty around the world, Pope Benedict XVI told foreign ambassadors assembled at the Vatican that peace-building requires charity, religious liberty, a proper understanding of human rights and openness to divine love.

Published in Vatican

OTTAWA - Non-governmental organizations and charities are finding themselves starved for funds as Canada shifts to a trade–oriented approach to overseas development.

Published in Canada
December 5, 2012

Faithful charity

Engaging in charity is central to the mission of the Church or, as Pope Benedict says, “an indispensable expression of her very being.” For 2,000 years, charity has been such an obvious aspect of Christian identity that it was never expressly established in Canon Law as a duty of the bishops. There was no need. It was simply acknowledged by all as being a fundamental teaching of Christ and therefore essential to the practise of the faith.

That changed on Dec. 1 when the Pope issued an apostolic letter to formalize regulations to govern the Church’s charitable activities. He did this, he said, because there was a need to fill a lacuna, the gap between what was being enthusiastically practised but without a legislated framework.

His document will be warmly received by generous Catholics who’ve expressed concern about their donations sometimes going, directly or indirectly, to causes that conflict with Church teaching. In Canada, the most public of these cases involve a small number of agencies affiliated with Development and Peace. Even today, D&P continues to hear occasional suggestions that, despite tighter controls, some of its money finds its way to groups that support abortion.

Benedict’s welcomed decree is a succinct reflection on the essential nature of charity and its integral place in the Church. It’s a call for charities to exemplify Christian life, for the laity to engage in charitable activity and for bishops to provide firm leadership and strict oversight.

Most striking, though, is the Pope’s unequivocal edict that Catholic charities always act in accordance with Church doctrine.

Without exception, they “are required to follow Catholic principles in their activity and they may not accept commitments which could in any way affect the observance of those principles,” he said. He has also prohibited these charities from accepting financial support from groups that contravene Church teaching.

Additionally, dioceses and parishes are instructed to prohibit publicity for charitable organizations that contravene Church teaching. The Pope makes it the duty of bishops in particular but also pastors to “ensure that they (charities) are managed in conformity with the demands of the Church’s teaching and the intentions of the faithful.”

These are welcomed words. When Catholics support a Catholic charity they have every right to expect their money is supporting causes that align with their faith. For many years, everyone assumed that was the case. Several recent incidents, however, suggest that has not always been so.

The Pope has now decreed that being faithful is more than merely expected of Catholic charities. It is mandatory. These charities are obligated to strictly adhere to Church doctrine and bishops are formally required to ensure that charities comply.

It’s all about ensuring that Catholic charities are, in every respect, truly Catholic.

Published in Editorial

VATICAN CITY - Warning that Catholic charitable activity must not become "just another form of organized social assistance," Pope Benedict XVI issued new rules to strengthen the religious identity of Catholic charities and ensure that their activities conform to church teaching.

Published in International

VAUGHAN, ONT. - It was a night of showbiz, glamour and big apples at The Angel Foundation for Learning’s eighth annual Evening to Feed the Soul Gala.

Published in Youth Speak News

VATICAN CITY - All pastoral work, including promoting social justice and providing for the poor, must be nourished by prayer, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Without contemplating and internalizing God's word daily, one risks being suffocated by too heavy a workload and one's heart risks hardening to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, he said.

Published in Vatican

TORONTO - Out of the Cold has been a success for 25 years, serving the homeless and hungry in 22 locations around the city with the help of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faith communities. But co-founder Sr. Susan Morin wishes it had never been necessary.

“It’s not the answer,” Morin told people gathered April 28 to remember Out of the Cold co-founder Fr. John Murphy of the Basilians. “There shouldn’t be so many hungry people. There shouldn’t be people without shelter.”

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

VATICAN CITY - An authentic Christian faith is demonstrated through concrete acts of charity and those acts are an essential part of the Catholic Church's new evangelization effort, Pope Benedict XVI told members of a Rome-based charity.

"The witness of charity touches human hearts in a special way," the Pope said, and "the new evangelization, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Rome, requires a great openness of spirit and a wise readiness to help all."

Published in Vatican
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