Caritas in Veritate International, a Catholic group that specializes in charity and proselytizing, recently held a meeting in Rome for its leaders. And they met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who had some strong words of support for them:
… Henry Cappello, the president of CiVI… told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday that the pope emeritus was healthy and able to visit with them for 25 minutes. Benedict also summed up neatly the point of his encyclicals and of CiVI: “He told us, ‘Faith without charity is useless. And charity without faith is useless.’”
I’m sure he was just going for a rhetorical flourish there, but the last part of his statement is really damaging. It suggests that charity alone — without religious faith — means nothing. Which is complete bullshit, when there are plenty of Humanist charities out there who aren’t looking for a divine reward and who aren’t guided by the dictates of religion. They just want to make the world a better place.
Charity is great, with and without faith. What we should be concerned about is charity that comes with strings attached, which is often the case when you have a group that wants to spread the Gospel as much as (if not more than) they want to provide services of real value.