POPE Encourages Priests to Teach Justice and Charity

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging priests to face the economic crisis by speaking out against avarice on a large scale, and forming justice in the hearts of all people.
The Pope affirmed this in a meeting Feb. 26 with parish priests of the Diocese of Rome, a Lenten tradition, in which he answered their questions and concerns.He addressed a pastor's question about how to help people deal with the present economic crisis. On the level of macroeconomics, he said, it "is a duty of the Church" to "denounce" the "underlying errors.""We must do so with courage," he asserted, "but also by being specific." He explained that "great morality is not helpful if it is not based on knowledge of the reality, which also helps to understand what can be done concretely to change the situation gradually."The Pontiff noted the central point of the existence of original sin. "If it did not exist," he said, "we could appeal to lucid reason, with arguments that are irrefutable and accessible to all, and to the good will that is in everyone."However, he said, reason is "confused by false premises" and thus "one goes forward with great intelligence and makes great strides on an erroneous path."As well, the Holy Father said, the will is marked by original sin and thus "it does not simply try to do good, but above all seeks itself or seeks the good of its own group."Faith and reasonHe continued, "Without the light of faith, which penetrates the darkness of original sin, reason cannot go forward."Faith "then runs into the resistance of our will," he said. "It does not want to see the way, which would be a path of self-denial and of correction of one's own will in favor of the other, not of oneself," he added. Benedict XVI stated that the "Church always has the duty to remain vigilant," to enter the reasoning of the economic world, "and to illumine this reasoning with the faith that frees us from the egoism of original sin."He added, "It is a task of the Church, to enter into this discernment, into this reasoning, to make itself heard, including at the various national and international levels, to help and to correct."While there is original sin, he said, there will never be total perfection, but "we must do everything possible to implement corrections that are at least provisional, sufficient to enable humanity to live and to put obstacles to the dominance of egoism, which presents itself under pretexts of science and of national and international economy."Personal conversion The Pope affirmed that this work must be complemented by efforts for the "conversion of hearts." He added, "If there are no just men, there is no justice either."He continued: "Justice cannot be created in the world only with good economic models, even if these are necessary. "Justice is only brought about if there are just men. And there are no just men without the humble, daily endeavor of converting hearts, and of creating justice in hearts. Only in this way is corrective justice extended. "That is why the work of the parish priest is so essential, not only for the parish, but for humanity."The Pontiff concluded, "To open hearts to justice and charity is to educate in the faith, to lead to God."Full text of question and answer: http://www.zenit.org/article-25283?l=english
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