Charity vs. Social Assistance

Cologne’s Cardinal Meister on the implications and insights of Deus Caritas Est:

Cardinal Meisner said the charitable work of the Church is not “a social pastime that the Church engages in when it befits her, but rather it belongs to the essence of her mission. When worship is not united to charity, it becomes an empty ritual. When the proclamation of the Gospel is not carried out nor bears fruit in charity, it becomes ideology. And when charity is not united to the proclamation of the Gospel and worship, it becomes mere social assistance.”

I’ve been reading the encyclical (about one/third of the way through) and it is a powerful encyclical. Good stuff, and given the fact that it is in many ways John Paul II’s very last encyclical and Benedict XVI’s first makes it all the more meaningful.

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