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Pope Puts Charity 1st in Life of Church

Comments on “Deus Caritas Est”

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that saints are witnesses to the first and foremost truth of Christianity: “God is Love.”

The Pope said this today before reciting the midday Angelus with the thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Referring to the encyclical “Deus Caritas Est,” published last Wednesday, the Holy Father explained that with this document he wanted to reaffirm “the primacy of charity in the life of the Christian and the Church.”

And “the privileged witnesses of this primacy are the saints, who made of their lives, with a thousand notes, a hymn to God-Love,” he said.

In particular, the Benedict XVI made reference to saints that the liturgy remembers in the last days of January: the Apostle Paul, with the disciples Timothy and Titus, St. Angela Merici (1470-1540), St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and St. John Bosco (1815-1888).

“They are saints who are very different from one another,” he said. “The former belong to the beginning of the Church; they are the missionaries of the first evangelization.”

Models

The Pope commented that St. Thomas Aquinas “is the model of the Catholic theologian who sees in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and love.”

Angela Merici, he said, “suggested a path of holiness as well for those living in a secular environment.”

Don Bosco, “inflamed by the charity of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, looked after the most underprivileged boys and became a father and teacher to them,” said the Pope.

According to the Pontiff, “the whole history of the Church is a history of holiness, animated by the one Love that has its source in God.”

For this reason, he referred to No. 40 of the encyclical in which mentions some men and women known for their charity: St. John of God, St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Joseph Cottolengo, St. Luis Orione and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, whom he mentions three times.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father said in German: “If we understand that the love of God is the fundamental issue of our lives, then our perspective changes.”

We achieve, he said, “a more profound understanding of God’s love for us.”

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