WITH CHARITY COMES RESPONSIBILITY, SAYS POPE

Reflects on Importance of Fraternal Correction

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 4, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI underlined the importance of fraternal correction in the life of the Church on Sunday in his weekly address before praying the midday Angelus.

Addressing the crowds that gathered in the courtyard at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope reflected on the Gospel for the day, which centered on the theme of fraternal charity, which he said “has its source in the communion of the Trinity.”

The Pope notes that in the Gospel text, taken from Matthew 18, it states that “brotherly love also includes reciprocal responsibility, on account of which, if my brother sins against me, I must be charitable to him and, first of all, speak with him personally, showing him that that what he said or did is not good.”

“This way of behaving,” he said, “is called fraternal correction: it is not a reaction to the offense I have suffered but a being moved by love for my brother.”

Benedict XVI asked, “And what if my brother does not listen to me?”

He answered that Christ indicates in the Gospel “a gradual approach”: “First go back and talk to him with two or three other persons so as to help him better grasp what he has done; if despite this he rejects the observation, the community must be told; and if he does not listen to the community either, it is necessary to make him see the rupture that he himself has provoked, separating himself from the Church.”

“All of this shows that there is a co-responsibility in the journey of the Christian life,” the Pope concluded. “Everyone, conscious of his own limits and defects, is called to welcome fraternal correction and to help others with this particular service.”

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