.- Pope Benedict XVIâs first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), affirms that Catholic identity and values must be evident in the way charitable services are organized and delivered, said Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA.
âThe encyclical also reaffirms that the Catholic response is a social response, but one rooted in the commitment and conviction of individual behavior,â said the priest. âWithout that support, our work would be impossible.â
Fr. Snyder issued a statement yesterday, describing the Popeâs teaching as both âa challenge and an affirmationâ and indicating that his organization and its member agencies welcome the encyclical. It is an affirmation of the commitment of his organization to make mission and Catholic identity a priority in the formation of its leaders and staff, he said.
âAs organizations specifically commissioned to carry out the social ministry of the Church, the encyclical demands that we be not just another philanthropic organization but that our Catholic identity and its inherent values imbue our organization and permeate how we deliver services,â Fr. Snyder stated.
The priest also noted that the Popeâs comments about the place of proselytism in the service of charity âaffirm the practice of Catholic Charities agencies to provide services based upon need and not race or creed.â