Pope Benedict lays down law for Catholic charities
New directive seeks to restrain activities that violate Church doctrine
“I’m elated beyond words.” “An early Christmas present.” “Deo gratsias!” “It is a welcome and huge move…” “One of the most important papal directives in the last half-century”. These were some of the reactions of pro-life leaders to Pope Benedict XVI’s directive called ‘On the service of charity’ released Saturday which mandated that charitable activities undertaken by the Catholic Church never offend Catholic teaching.
In the directive, the Pope stated: “I order that everything I have laid down in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio be fully observed, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.” Nevertheless, pro-life leaders are warning that the directives from the Pope must be followed and not ignored as has happened in the past.
American Life League President Judie Brown told LifeSiteNews, “We are going to issue a release demanding that each bishop comply with what the Holy Father has instructed.” She said that she’s watched for forty years as such heroic efforts by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict were frustrated. “Will the bishops pay attention? The track record is very dim.”
Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International commented: “We must redouble our prayer for conversion within the Church. This will not be well received in some circles, and is likely to further expose existing crevasses that can no longer be hidden.”
Fr. Boquet explained the evolution of charity into what is today often an abusive practice. “Over the past few decades, the developing world has sadly seen a dramatic increase in the essential efforts of service to the poor being integrated with completely destructive and counterproductive anti-life assaults on those being served, and on their cultures,” he said.
“Emergency shelter somehow requires legalized abortion, food comes with condoms and incredible pressure to reduce birth rates, economic assistance requires adoption of a radical sexual and political agenda. More and more the message to the poor and suffering from the secular development industry is ‘we’ll help you, but you need to stop having children now and leave your traditions behind.’”
Stressing the need for the Pope’s new document, Fr. Boquet explained, “And sadly, too often the Church’s own agencies have not only not spoken up against this new normal in development, but they have at times even funded the groups who lead the trend. This Motu Proprio is an effort to rid this essential work of the Church of its ideological confusion, and to make it both more effective and more Catholic.”
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