While we’re on the topic of the Encyclical, there’s another surprising thing that should not miss our attention. We are used to talking about the Church in terms of the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. But Papa Benny emphatically adds a third essential duty and mark of the Church: Charity!
“The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. ” (para. 22)
“the exercise of charity is an action of the Church as such, and that, like the ministry of Word and Sacrament, it too has been an essential part of her mission from the very beginning.” (para. 32)