Pope’s encyclical said to give charities encouragement, guidance

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Domestic and international charitable organizations have found encouragement and helpful guidance in Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”), said the heads of Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services at a Nov. 9 workshop for bishops in Baltimore. One of the themes of the nearly 3-year-old encyclical emphasizes the role of charity as an outward expression of love. Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican agency that promotes and coordinates the church’s charitable work, summarized the key connections between the 16,000-word encyclical and charity during the workshop preceding the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, said the encyclical has become a sort of strategic vision for the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. “It has given us a new spirit,” he said. Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, a national network of diocesan social service agencies, said the encyclical was “an incredible gift” and also “a significant challenge.”

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