VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic charity network present throughout the world, will work more closely with the Pope and the Holy See, a Vatican press statement announced on Saturday.
The text reveals that from now on the institution will have a “public canonical juridical personality,” linking it more closely “to the person of the Pope and to the Holy See, fostering a more effective collaboration with the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum.'”
The mission of this Vatican organization, presided over by German Archbishop Josef Cordes, is to promote and coordinate the initiatives of Catholic institutions in the humanitarian field.
Archbishop Cordes handed the president of Caritas Internationalis, Archbishop Youhanna Fouad El-Hage of Tripoli of Lebanon, the document John Paul II wrote on Sept. 16 for the occasion entitled “During the Last Supper.”
“The document opens a new stage in the charitable service carried out by the confederation for more than fifty years,” affirms the Vatican statement.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic aid, development and social service organizations present in more than 200 countries and territories.
According to the papal document, the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” has “the task to follow and support the activity of Caritas Internationalis, both at the international level as well as in its regional groupings,” which are seven in number.
The Vatican organization will work to maintain alive “the ecclesial spirit” of Caritas, and see that its activities are carried out “in collaboration with the local Churches that are interested and with their pastors.”
Caritas will present to “Cor Unum” for its approval the “texts of orientation” that it hopes to publish, as established by the Pope. In its international activity, “especially in international organizations and in areas of the world with particular difficulties, it will refer to the [Vatican] State Secretariat.”
For other specific questions it will act in collaboration with other organizations of the Roman Curia, such as the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, or for Health Pastoral Care.
For additional information on Caritas Internationalis see: www.caritas.org.