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Witnessing to faith through charity: European Bishops Conferences

Trieste, Italy, 07 Nov 2013: The relationship between faith, charity and evangelization; the role of the bishop and the faithful, as main protagonists in the pastoral work of charity which goes beyond the response to an immediate need, but offers above all a welcoming community which is testimony to faith in that Jesus born poor for the poor – these issues were the focus of reflections at the meeting of bishops and delegates with responsibility for works of charity on behalf of the Bishops’ Conferences in Europe, gathered in Trieste, Italy, from 4-6 November.

The three-day meeting, promoted by the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’ and the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE)’s Caritas in Veritate Commission, took place at the invitation of the local Archbishop, Giampaolo Crepaldi, President of the afore-mentioned CCEE Commission. CCEE encompasses the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences.

From the addresses and discussions which followed, there emerged clearly the close link existing between faith, charity and evangelization. For the bishops who travelled to Trieste, it is impossible to think of charity without faith: to do so would be to reduce the church institution to a mere NGO. Nor is it possible to think of faith without charity: that would be to reduce faith to a disembodied perspective. Instead, faith needs works, the meeting affirmed.

In addition, there emerged more the idea that it is the Christian community as a whole which is called to be the real protagonist in the Church’s charitable interventions. In fact, although charity is a constitutive part and a response of faith of every Christian, it needs the community so as not to lose its ecclesial character.

As regards Benedict XVI’s Motu proprio, the bishops reiterated its importance, clarifying some legal and organisational elements of the numerous “charitable” structures which have emerged in recent years. Intimae Eccleasiae Natura is becoming more and more a guiding document for charitable bodies showing in particular how the pastoral work of charity can become an important tool of evangelisation.
In the document there emerges in particular the fact that being a charitable community means above all a welcoming community, that is, not just a response to an immediate need, but the offering of a reality which allows the development of the person as a whole, the meeting emphasized.
Source: Sedoc


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