Charitable works are key to evangelizing, pope says


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — An authentic Christian faith is demonstrated through concrete acts of charity and those acts are an essential part of the Catholic Church’s new evangelization effort, Pope Benedict XVI told members of a Rome-based charity.

“The witness of charity touches human hearts in a special way,” the pope said, and “the new evangelization, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Rome, requires a great openness of spirit and a wise readiness to help all.”

The pope made his remarks Feb. 24 during an audience with members of the Circolo di San Pietro, which operates soup kitchens and a shelter in Rome, but also raises money for papal charities.

“We know that the authenticity of our fidelity to the Gospel is verified in part by the attention and concrete care that we try to show our neighbors, especially the weakest and the marginalized,” he said.

True concern for others means trying to meet all their human needs, “physical, moral and spiritual,” and “overcoming the hardness of heart that makes us blind to the suffering of others,” the pope said.

“The service of charity,” he said, “is a privileged form of evangelization in the light of the teaching of Jesus, who will count what we have done for our brothers and sisters, especially the smallest and most overlooked, as something done for him.”

When Christians reach out with loving concern for the suffering, the pope said, they are sharing the Gospel by showing them the infinite love and mercy of God.