For us Christians, God himself is the source of charity; and charity is understood not merely as generic benevolence but as self-giving, even to the sacrifice of one’s life for others in imitation of the example of Jesus Christ. The Church prolongs Christ’s saving mission in time and space: she wishes to reach out to every human being, moved by a concern that every individual come to know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (cf. Rom 8:35)....It should be noted that Caritas Internationalis is basically made up of the various national Caritas agencies. In comparison with many Church institutions and associations devoted to charity, Caritas is distinctive; despite the variety of canonical forms taken by the national agencies, all of them offer an outstanding aid to Bishops in their pastoral exercise of charity. This entails a particular ecclesial responsibility: that of letting oneself be guided by the Church’s Pastors.Since Caritas Internationalis has a universal profile and is canonically a public juridical person, the Holy See is also responsible for following its activity and exercising oversight to ensure that its humanitarian and charitable activity, and the content of its documents, are completely in accord with the Apostolic See and the Church’s Magisterium, and that it is administered in a competent and transparent manner.
...The experience you have garnered in these years has taught you to be advocates within the international community of a sound anthropological vision, one nourished by Catholic teaching and committed to defending the dignity of all human life. Without a transcendent foundation, without a reference to God the Creator, without an appreciation of our eternal destiny, we risk falling prey to harmful ideologies. ...
In the political sphere - and in all those areas directly affecting the lives of the poor - the faithful, especially the laity, enjoy broad freedom of activity. No one can claim to speak "officially" in the name of the entire lay faithful, or of all Catholics, in matters freely open to discussion (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 43; 88). On the other hand, all Catholics, and indeed all men and women, are called to act with purified consciences and generous hearts in resolutely promoting those values which I have often referred to as "non-negotiable"....It is within this greater horizon, then, and in close collaboration with the Church’s Pastors who are ultimately responsible for her witness of charity (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 32), that the national Caritas agencies are called to continue their vital witness to the mystery of God’s healing and transforming love made manifest in Jesus Christ.
May 27, 2011