FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging charity workers to combine their action with prayer, and to keep their Catholic identity strong despite cultural pressures.
The Pope stated this today in Fatima at a meeting with people involved in charity organizations and social work. The event was part of the third day of the Pontiff’s four-day visit to Portugal.
Often, he said, “it is not easy to arrive at a satisfactory synthesis between spiritual life and apostolic activity.”
“The pressure exerted by the prevailing culture, which constantly holds up a lifestyle based on the law of the stronger, on easy and attractive gain, ends up influencing our ways of thinking, our projects and the goals of our service, and risks emptying them of the motivation of faith and Christian hope which had originally inspired them,” the Holy Father acknowledged.
As well, he continued, the “many pressing requests which we receive for support and assistance from the poor and marginalized of society impel us to look for solutions which correspond to the logic of efficiency, quantifiable effects and publicity.”
Nonetheless, Benedict XVI stated, the synthesis of prayer and action is “absolutely necessary.”
He underlined the need for Catholic workers to hold fast to their identity, and ensure “that Christian charitable activity is granted autonomy and independence from politics and ideologies even while cooperating with state agencies in the pursuit of common goals.”
“The services you provide, and your educational and charitable activities, must all be crowned by projects of freedom whose goal is human promotion and universal fraternity,” the Pope stated.
“Yours is a variety of faces,” he noted, yet all united “in concern for social issues and, above all, in showing compassion to the poor, the infirm, prisoners, the lonely and abandoned, the disabled, children and the elderly, migrants, the unemployed and all those who experience needs which compromise personal dignity and freedom.”
The Pontiff expressed appreciation for “all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socio-economic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion.”
He continued: “Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life, beginning at conception, and of the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.
“Such initiatives represent, alongside numerous other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilization of love.”
“In its social and political dimension, this service of charity is the proper realm of the lay faithful,” the Holy Father affirmed, “who are called to organically promote justice and the common good, and to configure social life correctly.”
He noted that “a new generation of servant leaders needs to be trained” for future work.
Benedict XVI affirmed that “anyone who learns from the God who is Love will inevitably be a person for others.”
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Full text: http://zenit.org/article-29245?l=english