Charity must be linked to evangelization

Once again, for the umpteenth time, the Church makes clear that our Christian social work is founded on Christ and includes the all-important aspect of evangelization, that is, proclaiming Christ, not just by deed but by word. Social work, such as building houses and communities for the poor, that deliberately omits or marginalizes Christ and prayer is not the model of the Church. It is not true charity when we look to the material needs of the poor without looking to their even more important spiritual needs. Total human liberation means just that, total. It is not just freedom from hunger or lack of shelter, but freedom from the dominion of the evil one, experiencing the salvation that Jesus brought.

Cardinal Sarah: Charity must be linked to evangelization

Writing for L’Osservatore Romano on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Cardinal Robert Sarah emphasized the link between evangelization and charity.

The cardinal, who has led the pontifical council since 2010, stated that “it is significant that Paul VI had already anticipated some of the misunderstandings which might threaten a correct understanding of charity in the Church and which unfortunately were verified: the witness of charity finds its measure in Christ; the search for justice does not exhaust the duty of charity; preaching of the Gospel, which is not proselytism, is an integral part of charitable activity.”

“On November 28, 1978, just a few months after his election, John Paul II met the dicastery for the first time,” the Guinea-born prelate added. “It is significant that at that encounter he wanted to reiterate the link between the Gospel and charity: ‘We must also take care to set advancement carefully in the context of evangelization, which is the fullness of human advancement, since it proclaims and offers man’s full salvation.’”