Pope Benedict on the priority of the Gospel

Yesterday, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at Munich. During his homily, he spoke of how social issues and the Gospel are inseparable:
The Catholic Church in Germany is outstanding for its social activities, for its readiness to help wherever help is needed. During their visits "ad limina," the bishops, most recently those of Africa, have always mentioned with gratitude the generosity of German Catholics and ask me to convey that gratitude. Just recently, the bishops of the Baltic countries told me about how German Catholics assisted them greatly in rebuilding their churches, which were badly in need of repair after decades of Communist rule.

Every now and then, however, some African bishop will say: "If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations." Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser importance.

Yet the experience of those bishops is that evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin, and if - for example - AIDS is to be combated by realistically facing its deeper causes and the sick are to be given the loving care they need. Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable.

Translation by Zenit

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