His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum addressed a conference of Catholic charitable organizations, having a special reference to the encyclicals of Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est and Caritas in veritate.
Here is a CNA account:
Vatican City, Nov 13, 2014 / 12:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Robert Sarah has stressed the link between charity and preaching the Gospel, saying that while the practical needs of the poor are important, Christians can give something more essential: Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Sarah, citing Benedict XVI, told CNA that “charity is very linked with the proclamation of the Gospel, and doing charity is not only giving food, giving material things, but giving God too. Because the main lack of man is not having God.”
[NB] Cardinal Sarah addressed the conference about “Caritas in Veritate.” The cardinal explained that the worst discrimination against the poor is not refusing to give them food, but rather to give them only food and refuse to give them the Gospel. [More on this, below.]
“It’s very important to express that the hunger we are suffering today is not having God in our life, in our society,” the cardinal said Nov. 7. He explained that Benedict XVI’s encyclical insists that charity is the way we express our faith. Although giving food is necessary, “the main food is God.”
He recounted a story from one of his two trips to Syria to visit refugees. He met a small child who asked him: “does God really exist? Why did he let my father be killed?”
This child had everything, the cardinal observed, including food and medicine, but still lacked the most essential thing, which is the assurance that God exists and is close to him.
“(So) charity today is not only to act for social work, for material assistance, but really to bring the Gospel to the people.” [We are a Church which has a goal our salvation, not earthly utopia.]
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household, also spoke to the leadership forum for Caritas in Veritate International. He offered some reflections on love that were taken from talks he has given to Popes throughout his time as the papal preacher.
He said that the presentation of the truth is essential alongside the giving of charitable aid.
“We could translate ‘truth’ as ‘Jesus Christ,’ because he said ‘I am the truth’,” the papal preacher told CNA Nov. 7.
With bread, we must give Truth, which is Jesus Christ.
And so I ask: What, then, would it mean were the Church in some way to change her disciplines so as to admit to Communion the divorced and remarried, without a serious undertaking to know the truth of their marital situation? Say the processes for the determination of the non-validity of marriages is greatly pared down. Say the processes begin to aim not for moral certainty about a case, but rather mere probability. Say confessors and bishops start turning a blind eye to reception of Communion by those in objectively problematic situations, or even begin to foster reception when is isn’t permitted according the standards of millennial teaching.
Would this not be something like giving people “bread” without giving them the Truth?
In this case, the irony would be that Truth really is being given, Christ in the Eucharistic species, true Bread, but without the truth of the sacramental effects. Because the people would not be in the state of grace, they could be doing great harm to their own souls and those of others because of the scandal caused. I am reminded of Our Lord’s stabbing question in Luke 11: “And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion?” Not that Our Lord in the Eucharist is a “scorpion”, for Christ Himself is the greatest good possible, but we must affirm what the old scholastics summarized, and which is undoubtedly true, “What is received is received in the manner of the one receiving.” If you are not in the state of grace, and you receive Communion, you commit a serious sin. The sin is all the more serious because the matter is not just grave, but the most grave of all: misuse of the sacred, which is sacrilege. And, in this case, not just misuse of a sacred thing, but rather The Sacred Thing, the Body, Blood, Soul and DIVINITY of the Incarnate Second Person of the Trinity. Some sins are graver because of the relationship one has with the person or thing being harmed.
It is not charity to tell people something that isn’t true. It is not charity to help them but not give them also that which nourishes the soul. Good deeds without charity, sacrificial love which is rooted in Christ’s love, are good, but they aren’t the kind of good that Christians can give and must give, because they are Christians. We can do what we Christians only can do, because we can do it as baptized people who live in grace. That means sticking to the Truth.