19 October 2007, 16:02
Charity should not serve goals of proselytism - Kondrusiewicz
Moscow, October 19, Interfax - The Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church agree that Christian charity should not be a means of luring worshipers to convert from one confession to another.
"Charity should not serve the goals of proselytism. Real servants of Christian charity do good things not to impose their beliefs on a person they help," Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said at the opening ceremony of a conference dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI's long-awaited first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), in Moscow on Friday.
The thesis that "charity cannot be a tool used to lure worshipers to convert to another confession" is one of the main conclusions of the pope's encyclical, Kondrusiewicz said.
"Social views of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches on the topical contemporary problems either coincide or very close," the archbishop said.
"One should not mix the service to those in need and the Church's mission. Very often people in need are ready to accept any help, and it is important that it is given delicately," priest Georgy Roschin, a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said at the ceremony.
"Very good relations" have recently been developing between the Russian Orthodox Church and Catholic charity organizations, for example Aid to the Church in Need, a German organization which helps people in need in many Russian regions.
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