Faith and Action United in Message, Says Archbishop

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2004 ( In asking the faithful this Lent to be concerned with needy children, John Paul II is stressing that faith and action must go hand in hand, says a Vatican official.

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«This is the Pope’s genius: to unite faith with social action,» Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes said in the press conference to present the papal message for the liturgical period in preparation for Easter.

The archbishop, who is president of the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» said that the Holy Father had avoided two extremes in his message: to give «a spiritual reflection that does not touch people, or to focus only on social action.»

«We Christians attest to our faith in social commitment,» the archbishop added.

Archbishop Cordes revealed that the Vatican post office will issue a commemorative stamp edition dedicated to children suffering from AIDS.

The stamps, due in circulation in May, is expected to raise 500,000 euros ($629,000). That money will fund a center in Kenya for orphans affected by AIDS, the archbishop said. The Pope distributes funds to the needy through «Cor Unum.»

«It is rare that Vatican stamps be dedicated to a social topic instead of the Vatican’s considerable cultural and artistic heritage,» the archbishop noted.

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