The Church doesn’t require us to give up cream puffs and Black Forest gâteau in Lent, but she does ask us to take up prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Benedict XVI highlighted the last of these in his visit to a Caritas homeless shelter at Rome’s Termini station on Sunday.
Perhaps the most touching moment came when the Pope addressed those who use the centre directly. “Dear brothers and friends who have found welcome here,” he said, “know that the Church loves you deeply and will not abandon you, because it recognises in the countenance of each of you that of Christ.” He then made a key point: that charity cannot be separated from the proclamation of the Gospel.
Catholic charities in Britain are under tremendous pressure to compromise their Christian identity, to separate charity and truth. This is why initiatives like Cafod’s Lent Fast Day are so heartening. The Fast Day, founded 50 years ago, unites the three elements of Lent in precisely the way the Church seeks. We trust that our readers will, as always, support it generously on February 26.