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Pope's Lenten message calls for charitable action

The Vatican has released the Holy Father's message for Lent 2003, which focuses on Jesus' assertion that it is "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

While the 40-day penitential season does not begin until 5 March, the Pope's message was released yesterday at a press conference in Rome chaired by Archbishop Josef Cordes (pictured), president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The Council administers the Pope's personal charities, and has responsibility for spreading the Pope's Lenten message.

Archbishop Cordes said the words of Jesus cited as theme of this year's message have gained widespread recognition even in the secular world.

But while the importance of charitable activity is universally acknowledged, he said, "both recipients and donors can have aims that are quite diverse."

He cautioned against viewing charitable activity as a "business", and cited other words of Jesus: "When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."

The essence of the Pope's Lenten message, the archbishop continued, is "a new exhortation to give." He added that charitable giving should be "the disinterested gift of oneself for others."

In his message, Pope John Paul remarks that contemporary society is "particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart."

Catholic World News

Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
Conferenza Stampa di Presentazione del Messaggio del Santo Padre per la Quaresima 2003, 06.02.2003

7 Feb 2003