Here is the translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s address to members of the Pro Petri Sede charitable association that works in Belgium and Luxemburg.
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I welcome you this morning, you who have come to Rome as pilgrims to show your devotion to the Apostolic See and to strengthen your commitment to the Pro Petri Sede Association. I commend your generosity and sense of ecclesial communion.
The Year of Faith, which the Church celebrates at this time, invites us to a genuine conversion to the Lord Jesus, the only Savior of the world. In welcoming through faith the revelation of the saving love of God in our lives, our entire existence is called to be modeled on the radical newness introduced into the world by Christ’s Resurrection. Faith is a living reality that must constantly be discovered and deepened so that it may grow. It is she who must guide the gaze and action of the Christian; because it is a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the life of man. As I have stated in the Apostolic Letter ‘Porta Fidei’, the Year of Faith is a good opportunity to intensify the witness of charity. “Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other; in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path.” (n.14)
In order to live this witness of charity, the meeting with the Lord who transforms the heart and the eyes of man is indispensable. In fact, this is the testimony of God’s love for all our brothers in humanity that gives the true meaning of Christian charity. It cannot be reduced to a simple humanism or an enterprise of human promotion. Material assistance, as necessary as it is, is not the whole of charity, which is participation in Christ’s love that is given and shared. Any genuine work of charity is a concrete manifestation of God’s love for mankind, thus becoming a proclamation of the Gospel. In this time of Lent, acts of charity, generously made (cf. Mt 6, 3), allow everyone to move toward Christ, who does not cease in coming to meet mankind!
Dear friends, may your pilgrimage strengthen your relationship with Christ and revive the grace received in Baptism! May the desire to give witness to your faith always grow in you. I entrust each of you and each of your families, as well as the members of your Association, to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary and the protection of the Apostle Peter. With all my heart, I give you my Apostolic Blessing.[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]