Cor Unum Asks if Encyclical Has Changed Hearts

Pontifical Council Analyzing Qualities of Its Workers

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2008 ( Benedict XVI’s encyclical is not just something to read; it should change the attitudes and habits of those who work in Catholic charitable groups, believes the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which coordinates and promotes the world’s Catholic institutions of assistance and volunteering, began today its 28th plenary assembly.

The meeting, under way through Saturday, will consider the “human and spiritual qualities of people who work in Catholic charity institutions,” the Vatican reported.

One of the aims of the assembly is to re-examine Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” and to verify if and how it has changed the attitudes of those who work in the charitable organizations of the Church. Attention will also be given to the question of the integral and continuous formation of managers and workers in the various Catholic charity organizations.

Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the dicastery, opened the assembly. His address was followed by a report from the council’s secretary, Monsignor Karel Kasteel. Following this, representatives of the various charitable bodies will discuss their work experiences.

Friday will be dedicated to examining the principal theme of the meeting, the main contribution coming from Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Subsequently, Professor Paul Schallenberg of the University of Fulda, Germany, will address the gathering on “the place of mercy in the welfare state: theological-ethical observations.” At the end of the second day, participants will visit the “Comunita dell’Agnello,” a group of women religious who announce the Gospel and work with the poor on the streets and in homes.

On Saturday, working groups will meet to discuss ideas and proposals for formation.

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