Inspired by faith and recognizing the deepest truths about the human being, the Church has historically been at the forefront in meeting a myriad of human needs in the United States and throughout the world. The contributions of the Catholic community have been vital, for instance, to the development of education and health care systems, countless charitable programs and the promotion of human rights and dignity.
Pope Benedict XVI explained in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), the Church’s mission is that of the Good Samaritan: a heart which “sees where love is needed and acts accordingly” (31).
In his most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the pope further noted that “the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development” (11, emphasis in original).
In this issue, Columbia takes a look at some of the many ways that the Church practices charity in truth and works to build a civilization of love.