Benedict XVI's Lenten message seeks to show how faith leads to charity's deepest dimensions, a Vatican official explained.
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," presented the papal message today in the Vatican press office.
The message is centered around the mystery of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
The prelate began his address by explaining how the command of charity is culturally accepted.
He said: "Worldwide entrepreneurs, for example, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, establish social foundations; film stars and politicians invite to charity dinners; governments create friends for themselves in public opinion thanks to international cooperation; and great fund-raising endeavors -- at times for catastrophes -- in some cases reach considerable quantities.
"As Christians we can observe, not without satisfaction, that in social life the biblical commandment of love of neighbor seems universally accepted."
Archbishop Cordes pointed out that the Pope's message for Lent "is considerably different" than previous ones, written by him or by Pope John Paul II.
Previous messages have focused on "works of charity in the sense of Christians' social commitment," the prelate said. This time, the Pontiff "forcefully places God the Father of Jesus Christ at the center." Therefore, the focus is not anthropocentric but theocentric.
"The Holy Father is less concerned with the horizontal dimension, in order to bring into clearer light the vertical dimension of Christian living," he added.
"This change of thought can be observed in general in Benedict XVI's preaching," Achbishop Cordes stated.
He added that in the Pope's encyclical or in other discourses, the central theme is always the love of the Father in heaven becoming man in the Son Jesus Christ.