26 – Material charity toward the poor gives witness to the love of the Church more than the studies of theologians

The word ‘charity’ almost always brings to mind material aid offered to the needy. And this it is: almsgiving is a praiseworthy habit, which has always been promoted by Holy Mother Church. However, we should not forget that another type of charity, the spiritual works of mercy: to instruct, to give counsel, to console, to comfort, to pardon, and to bear wrongs patiently (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2447), are more important than the corporal works of mercy, namely to give food to the hungry, give shelter, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, bury the dead.
Within the Church there flourished, as in a lush garden, varied religious orders dedicated to the material assistance of the poor. But have they ever considered themselves exempt from the obligation to instruct in the true doctrine the ignorant who were in the darkness of error?


Quote A

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study


I — Primacy of the spiritual works of mercy over the material ones
II — The primacy of the study of theology
III — True charity emanates from the study of theology

I — Primacy of the spiritual works of mercy over the material ones

Benedict XVI

Care for the soul is more necessary than material support
The true labor in God’s field is to set people free from the poverty of truth


Do not forget those whose souls are sick!

Pius XI

Instructing our neighbors in the true faith is the greatest mark of love

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Corporal alms-deeds are not superior to spiritual ones

Pius X

A great number of those condemned to Hell are those who ignore the mysteries of the faith

Saint Bede the Venerable

Alms are not only given in satisfying hunger

Gregory I, the Great

It is worth more to encourage the soul, which is to live forever, with the food of the word than to satiate with earthly bread the body which is to die

Saint Jerome

The wealth of doctrine: the more it is given away, the more it abounds

II — The primacy of the study of theology

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Theology is the most important science

Benedict XVI

Without the light of truth, charity degenerates into sentimentalism
The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures in the same way as she venerates the Body of the Lord

John Paul II

The formation of the future priest is based on the study of sacred doctrine and theology
The commitment to theological study is not an external or secondary dimension
The whole of Theology is ordered to nourishing the faith
Theology: a study to communicate to others the Christian faith and outlook

Pius X

Sacred theology has the first place
There are large numbers of Christians today who are entirely ignorant of those truths necessary for salvation
Christian teaching reveals God, and the truly remarkable dignity of man also

Sixtus V

The knowledge of theology is of the greatest assistance to the Church in exposing and refuting errors and heresies

III — True charity emanates from the study of theology

Benedict XVI

In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity
We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God
It is important for the People of God to be properly taught and trained to approach the Sacred Scriptures
The necessity of intellectual charity: as the great mendicant saints and theologians

John Paul II

The lack of adequate formation causes many obstacles for the message of salvation


The solemn duty and truest function of the Church: to propagate the truth of Jesus Christ to the peoples

Pius XII

To enkindle men’s souls with the charity of Christ, you must be first illumined with truth. Devote yourselves to sacred studies

Related studies

  • 159 – Diversity is a beautiful thing when it can constantly enter into a process of reconciliation and seal a sort of cultural covenant resulting in a ‘reconciled diversity’

  • 155 – “Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without helping the poor will risk breaking down”

  • 154 – “The Church has never been better. This is a wonderful moment for the Church”

  • 153 – “The Church can sometimes fall into a needless hallowing of our own culture, and thus show more fanaticism than true evangelizing zeal”

  • 141 – “This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige”

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