Pope: Feeding the Hungry Forces Question of Why There Is Hunger

Benedict XVI Notes Educational Role in Aid Organizations

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that charity groups have a role in educating society, since a work of charity speaks of God and brings people to question.

The Pope said this Thursday when he addressed members of Italian Caritas.

Noting that a work of charity announces hope, he said it is also an «educational» act that helps «the poor to grow in dignity, Christian communities to follow Christ and civil society to shoulder its obligations.»

«Charity requires an open mind,» the Holy Father went on. «Responding to need means not only giving bread to the hungry, but also asking ourselves about the reasons for their hunger, using the gaze of Jesus who could see the profound truth of the people around him. In this perspective, our modern times are calling you to ask yourselves about the way you work for charity.»

Benedict XVI emphasized in particular the needs of migrants. 

«Natural calamities and wars often create emergencies,» he added. «The global economic crisis is a another sign of the times which calls for the courage of fraternity. The gap between the north and south of the world, and the wounded human dignity of so many people, call for a charity able to expand in concentric circles from the small economic systems to the great. Increasing poverty, the weakening of families, and the uncertainty faced by the young all point to the risk of diminishing hope.»

«Humankind needs not only benefactors,» the Holy Father stated, «but also humble practical people who, like Jesus, stand alongside their brothers and sisters and share their fatigue. In a word, humanity is looking for signs of hope. The source of our hope is in the Lord. This is why we need Caritas, not to delegate it with the responsibility for charitable service, but for it to be a sign of Christ’s charity, a sign that brings hope.»

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