The Holy Father's Lenten Message for 2013 was presented this morning in the Press Office of the Holy See. It is entitled: Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity: "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us," (1Jn 4:16). Participating in the press conference were: Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and undersecretary of that dicastery; and Dr. Michael Thio, president general of the International Confederation-Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

"This year," Cardinal Sarah said, "the theme of the message focuses on the compelling relationship between faith and charity … between believing in God, the God revealed by Jesus Christ, and the charity that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and that leads us to the horizon of a deeper openness to God and neighbor."

Cardinal Sarah emphasized the Holy Father's connection between faith and charity, stating that there can be no true faith without action and that charity, which calls forth faith, can allow one to give witness.

"The center of this Lenten Message," the cardinal reiterated, "is certainly the indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity.

"We can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity.' However, this separation or opposition can take different forms.  It is a misunderstanding to emphasize the faith, and the liturgy as its privileged channel, so strongly as to forget that they are intended for actual persons who have their own needs, human as they may be their own history, their own relationships."

The president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" said that just as faith and charity go together, so does the Gospel and action go together.  Cardinal Sarah reiterated the Holy Father's message on the complementarity of faith and charity.  

"On the one hand, a life based solely on faith runs the risk of sinking into a banal sentimentality that reduces our relationship with God to mere consolation. On the other hand, a charity that kneels in adoration of God without taking into account the source from which it springs and to which every good deed must be directed, is likely to be reduced to mere philanthropy, to mere 'moral activism'," the Cardinal said.

Concluding his remarks, Cardinal Sarah said that the Holy Father's message is timely not only because it falls during the Year of Faith, but also because the Holy Father's words in a time in history where humanity "struggles to recognize itself and to find a path to the future.

"The Church can thus be the beacon of a renewed humanity and contribute to the coming of the 'Civilization of Love'," Cardinal Sarah said.

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For the full text of the Pope Benedict XVI's Lenten Message, go to: