by Hilary White
ROME, November 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a surprise move, Pope Benedict XVI this morning issued a formal legislative document instructing Catholic charitable organisations that they must act in complete compliance with Catholic teaching. The Vatican rumour mill failed to predict the appearance today of the pope’s Motu Proprio, a special letter written and promulgated on Pope Benedict’s personal initiative, that lays out specific legislation on how Catholic charities must be governed.
Benedict issued the Motu Proprio, “De Caritate Ministranda,” on the Church’s charitable activities after strongly hinting in recent years at his deep concern at the secularising and outright anti-Catholic trends growing within officially recognised, and lay-funded, Catholic charitable agencies.
The document, using the formal legal language reserved for the Sovereign Pontiff when creating binding legislation for the whole Church, specifies that Catholic charitable organizations “should not limit themselves merely to collecting and distributing funds,” but exist to further Catholic religious objectives by exercising “a valuable educational function within the Christian community”.
“The Church’s charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance,” Pope Benedict wrote.
“To the extent that such activities are promoted by the hierarchy…there is a need to ensure that they are managed in conformity with the demands of the Church’s teaching and the intentions of the faithful.”
“The collective charitable initiatives to which this Motu Proprio refers,” the pope wrote, “are required to follow Catholic principles in their activity…”
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