Find authenticity in charity, Pope tells young people

June 22, 2023 at 9:01 p.m.
Find authenticity in charity, Pope tells young people
Find authenticity in charity, Pope tells young people

By Justin McLellan

VATICAN CITY CNS – To live charitably and authentically, young people must develop a sense of compassion to align their hearts with their charitable acts, Pope Francis said.

"The pierced heart of God frees us from thinking of charity as a profession, a calculation of sheer philanthropy, a bureaucracy of goodness or, worse, a network of political interests," he wrote to participants in the plenary assembly of ROACO, a coalition of Catholic charities working with the Vatican to assist the Eastern churches, and its youth conference.

Pope Francis met the group June 22 but, according to Vatican News, he told them he would not read his prepared remarks since he was still experiencing difficulty breathing from the general anesthesia he underwent for his June 7 abdominal surgery. His speech was handed out instead.

"The cross, the ultimate participation of God in the suffering of humanity," he wrote, "provides Christians, particularly young people, with the authenticity that they are searching for, the courage to bear witness, the strength to overcome individualism and indifference, which today are all the rage, and increases compassion."

Pope Francis thanked ROACO for its "proactive solidarity that helps heal wounds like a caress on the face of someone who is suffering. A caress that restores hope amidst the turmoil of conflict."

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"There is a tremendous contrast" between the reality of war today  "and the plan of God – a plan of peace, fraternity and concord for everyone," he said. God's plan "invites us to stop fighting each other and instead unite our efforts to fight famine and sickness."

Pope Francis also praised the ROACO plenary assembly's focus on the experience of young people in the Eastern Catholic churches, which he called a "wise" choice. "Young people want to be protagonists of the common good, which should be the 'compass' of social action," the Pope said.

Directing his words to the young people present, the Pope urged them to be "sentinels of peace for everyone, prophets who dream and proclaim a world that is different and no longer divided."

Pope Francis also thanked the participants for the relief they provided after the February earthquake in Turkey and Syria, where he noted it is still difficult to send financial aid through normal banking systems, and for their support to internally displaced persons and refugees in Ukraine.

The Pope urged the participants "not to be lacking in concrete closeness, closeness of prayer and charity, to the war-torn Ukrainian people," and praised their other projects underway in Iran, Turkey and Eritrea.


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VATICAN CITY CNS – To live charitably and authentically, young people must develop a sense of compassion to align their hearts with their charitable acts, Pope Francis said.

"The pierced heart of God frees us from thinking of charity as a profession, a calculation of sheer philanthropy, a bureaucracy of goodness or, worse, a network of political interests," he wrote to participants in the plenary assembly of ROACO, a coalition of Catholic charities working with the Vatican to assist the Eastern churches, and its youth conference.

Pope Francis met the group June 22 but, according to Vatican News, he told them he would not read his prepared remarks since he was still experiencing difficulty breathing from the general anesthesia he underwent for his June 7 abdominal surgery. His speech was handed out instead.

"The cross, the ultimate participation of God in the suffering of humanity," he wrote, "provides Christians, particularly young people, with the authenticity that they are searching for, the courage to bear witness, the strength to overcome individualism and indifference, which today are all the rage, and increases compassion."

Pope Francis thanked ROACO for its "proactive solidarity that helps heal wounds like a caress on the face of someone who is suffering. A caress that restores hope amidst the turmoil of conflict."

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"There is a tremendous contrast" between the reality of war today  "and the plan of God – a plan of peace, fraternity and concord for everyone," he said. God's plan "invites us to stop fighting each other and instead unite our efforts to fight famine and sickness."

Pope Francis also praised the ROACO plenary assembly's focus on the experience of young people in the Eastern Catholic churches, which he called a "wise" choice. "Young people want to be protagonists of the common good, which should be the 'compass' of social action," the Pope said.

Directing his words to the young people present, the Pope urged them to be "sentinels of peace for everyone, prophets who dream and proclaim a world that is different and no longer divided."

Pope Francis also thanked the participants for the relief they provided after the February earthquake in Turkey and Syria, where he noted it is still difficult to send financial aid through normal banking systems, and for their support to internally displaced persons and refugees in Ukraine.

The Pope urged the participants "not to be lacking in concrete closeness, closeness of prayer and charity, to the war-torn Ukrainian people," and praised their other projects underway in Iran, Turkey and Eritrea.

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