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For Lent, Pope Francis wants parishes to be “islands of mercy”


VATICAN CITY, Jan 28 – Msgr Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the office which handles the pope’s charitable giving, presented the Lenten message at a Vatican news conference. (see page 6)

He said indifference – where everything becomes the same or equally valid – results in an eradication of values, meaning, and any distinction between good and evil, true and false.

“If everything is the same, if nothing is different and therefore is more or less valid, what can one invest one’s life in?” he asked.

The Church upholds the truth, its standards and principles, and recognizes difference “between oneself and the other, between one lifestyle and another, between oneself and God,” the monsignor said.

“The Church does not denounce certain situations simply to censure them but she wishes to offer paths toward healing,” he said.

Everyone is called to conversion not because this “new heart” rooted in the Gospel is the key to a better society, but because the real purpose of conversion is to know Christ and become more like Him, he said.

People’s faith, however, must then move outward so as not to become “functional” that cares only about oneself and one’s personal well being, Msgr Dal Toso said.

The Church is a living body whose members “take care of each other; they even live, thanks to one another. The experience of living in the Church is already a break away from individualism, from indifference, and from the withdrawal into oneself that leads to death,” he said. –

As with poverty, war, violence, and acts of terror, indifference also kills: not only people, but the human spirit as well. Overcoming the “globalization of indifference” starts when each member of the Catholic Family recognizes one’s riches and poverty before the Lord and then decides to put them at the service of God’s poor.

This Lenten season, we, who share the heritage of hope, should see these words of the Holy Father as a clarion call to conversion.

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