CAFOD response to Pope Benedict’s statement:

Pope and Chris Bain

The staff and supporters of CAFOD, the official development agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will keep the Holy Father and the whole Church in our prayers at this time and in the weeks to come.

Pope Benedict’s teachings have consistently stressed the centrality of love and charity in the daily lives of Catholics, and in the mission of CAFOD and our sister agencies throughout the world to bring hope, compassion and solidarity to those living in the poorest communities. Our work will continue to be enriched by his teachings in the years to come.

The Director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, said:

“It is a mark of the man that Pope Benedict’s first encyclical (Deus Caritas Est) was about love: the love that demands we serve the poorest people on earth because they are all our neighbour and they are made in God’s image; the love that demands that the charitable works of the Church – its service to others – go hand in hand with its mission to preach and proclaim the gospel.

“Like many, I had previously seen Cardinal Ratzinger as the Vatican’s Enforcer, but with those words on the centrality of love, I saw him as a Pope for our times: a teacher and a man of deep compassion. Far from watering down the Church’s thirst for justice for the world’s poor, he helped to show that all our work for justice and fairness is rooted in a profound love that is given freely and unconditionally; a love that demands justice.

“On His Holiness’ visit to this country in 2010, he confounded his critics and touched the hearts not just of Catholics but many others. Here we saw his warmth, his belief in social justice for the world’s poor, his eagerness not to condemn but to engage in dialogue. And last November, in Rome, as he blessed CAFOD’s 50th anniversary, I asked Pope Benedict to pray for our work and he said of course he would. Both his prayers and his teachings will sustain our work in the years ahead.”

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