Christian Charity Has Divine Motive, Cor Unum Aide Says

NEWARK, New Jersey, SEPT. 11, 2001 ( Love thy neighbor is a commandment that is “not born from secular humanism but from biblical revelation,” a Vatican aide told the national conference of Catholic Charities, the U.S. bishops´ aid network.

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Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” answered a crucial question of Catholic charitable organizations — What makes charity specifically “Christian”? — when he addressed the conference Monday.

Catholic Charities, which has 50,488 full-time employees and 200,000 volunteers, is the country´s largest private charity network.

Addressing 600 delegates of the organization, Archbishop Cordes emphasized the importance of not forgetting the genuine evangelical mark of charitable work, which makes Christian charity far superior to mere “humanitarianism.”

“Humanitarianism” is rooted in the Greco-Roman world, and is governed “by justice, not compassion,” the archbishop explained.

Love for a needy brother is, above all, a reflection of God´s love for each person, a dimension that makes Christian charity radically different from simple secular welfare, he said. Everyone needs to rediscover this dimension, the Cor Unum aide added.

Through the believer´s self-less service, charity is God´s caress for each person, the archbishop said.

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