Rorate Caeli

Vatican to Caritas: a Catholic institution must be Catholic

Quite a feud between the Apostolic See (through its Secretariat of State) and the supposedly Catholic international organization known as "Caritas" (its main American affiliate is Catholic Charities, and its main British affiliate is CAFOD). Since the position of Caritas International has been dubiously Catholic in the past few decades, the Holy See has at last intervened in what had become a scandalous situation.

The Vatican has indicated that it blocked Lesley-Anne Knight from a second term at the helm of the Church’s largest development organisation because it wants a new leader who can strengthen its Catholic identity and forge more cordial working relations with the Holy See.

Rome’s reasons for failing to allow the re-appointment of Dr Knight as secretary general of the Rome-based Caritas Internationalis (CI) are given in a letter sent by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB, to all the world’s episcopal conferences and seen this week by The Tablet.

“During the next four years particular attention will have to be given to harmonising the theological dimension of Caritas Internationalis … with its role as an organisation operating on the international stage,” says the three-page letter, dated 15 February. It adds that the next CI secretary general will also need to improve communication with other ecclesial bodies and with the dicasteries of the Roman Curia that have an “interest” in CI activities.

The letter, which was also sent to bishops responsible for the 165 member charities that make up the Caritas confederation, further indicates that the advocacy work that Caritas carries out must be better coordinated “in strict cooperation with the Holy See, which is specifically competent in this regard”.
Mrs. Knight's predecessor as secretary-general of Caritas International, Duncan MacLaren, had already been quite vocal defending his predecessor and attacking the Roman See in an article published in Australian Jesuit (what a shock!) website Eureka Street:

In an extraordinary move, Lesley-Anne Knight, my successor as Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis (CI, the Church's international relief agency), has not been granted the nihil obstat (basically, official approval) by the Vatican's Secretariat of State to stand for another four-year term.

There is outrage in the Confederation.

According to the statutes, a list of candidates must be presented timeously to the Holy See which then rings the secretary of the applicant's bishops' conference to ascertain whether the candidate is 'in good standing' with the Church.
What an outrage! The Roman and Apostolic See wants her main charitable institution to be Catholic and act in a clearly Catholic way? How dare they!?

Too bad for Mrs. Knight because, since the Pope's informal and indirect references to condoms last year, she was aching for some official policy allowing for a "change" in Caritas International regarding condoms... Is it too much to wonder, by the way, if Caritas workers do not already recommend or even distribute contraceptives in some places around the world?...

Merci au Forum Catholique!


  1. Johannes8:00 PM

    A woman once thought I was a beggar. It was on Ash Wednesday last year and she asked me if she could "buy me a cup of coffee". I thought she had meant literally go to a cafe and sit with her and I so I did not refuse her. She then gave me ten dollars or so in tvrpe lvcrvm. When it had emptied (which there though so many more people attend takes less time than where I am now) I went to the back of the church and put the money in the Caritas box. It was the only organisation with a Latin name and I felt confident that it must be distinctly Christian (which a heretic is not) and Catholic. There is a lie here - there is deception. The name makes it feel deliberate - though perhaps this is only a more recent strain that had needed correcting and received it. The predecessor and I are on the same island.

  2. Anonymous8:09 PM

    In regards to Catholic Charities:

    "Catholic Charities" is neither Catholic nor Charitable. They are a bloated bureaucracy that depends on tainted government funds and diocesan subsidy derived from duped parishioners.

    See here for latest scandal:

  3. Anonymous8:39 PM

    What took the Vatican so long?

    I hope the investigation of USA nuns initiated by the great Benedict XVI and Cardinal Rode is not sidelined into oblivion, but rather produces similar results as this Caritas mess.

    The USA Orders of nuns need to be supressed....nearly all of them.
    They share the same views as Caritas, or much worse.

  4. CAFOD ha! Try

  5. Gideon Ertner10:45 PM

    In the country where I live, the General Secretary of Caritas is a Protestant. He's a fine and virtuous man, and in technical terms better at the job than any Catholic here would be. However I wonder if it doesn't pose a problem with certain moral concerns in development work that are now virtually exclusively the domain of Catholic thought, besides of course sending a bit of a strange signal.

  6. Anonymous10:57 PM


    Perhaps this development comes just in part, in light of Caritas's very active support of the warm and fuzzy (and "problematic"!) UN Millenium Development Goals? A reference from their own web site:

    "What is wrong with the UN Millenium Goals?" See:

    Look for "family planning" and "reproductive health". ;-)

    I write as one who in the past had donated hard earned dollars to Caritas (and sadly, also Amnesty International before they were overrun). Until that is, I became suspicious that they and I may actually _not_ be "on the same team".

    Gladly, I have no need or use for CCHD, Caritas, or any of the other evil / CINO / COD (Culture of Death) "charities" in order to feel like I have done my duty.

    There are plenty of fantastic ethical charities, outstanding priestly and religious orders, and wonderfully Catholic apostolates and causes to support...

    Deo gratias for all those men and women who _do_ dedicate their lives to a Culture of Life, Love, Truth and .. Faith.

    My advice? Vote with your feet and vote with your wallets. Do not stop nor compromise. Oh, and tell these organizations why your donations are going elsewhere.

    Do each of us know how much evil we sponsor through our own regular purchases at the mall or shopping center, let alone through our donations?

  7. Johannes12:14 PM

    In response to Etner

    - Heretics should not be leading expressly Catholic bodies in what is - and let no one mistake this here - a religious action or practice. Secularily, worldly qualified pagans were not ever allowed to interfere historically with the churches' efforts in this regard. A Protestant should not be leading a Catholic body aimed at carrying on the works of mercy anymore than he should be leading a choir at Mass or a procession of relics or delivering sermons because his voice is stronger or he is better educated than the local priest. We do not depend upon the wisdom of the world in these actions nor therefore upon men of the world particularly wise according to it's wisdom. Secular qualifications are null and void and utterly irrelevant in a matter of religion. Piety, fidelity, caritas - not a strong voice or degrees in business and finance management. An anagalous example would be being ostensibly the best man to manage a monastery and yet not a monk. Caritas as a Catholic body - if it is a Catholic body - should be under the leadership of committed Catholics; not heretic activists.

    As for his character - shall you correct Christ on that Day? He shall not know from whence he is and He shall tell him that He never knew him - but surely, what does this matter? He was a fine and virtuous man. We as Christians have higher standards than fine and a different standard of virtue. Heresy a priori makes him less than fine and incapable of being virtuous. There is no virtuous heretic anymore than there is a virtuous adulterer. The latter indeed is easier for a Catholic heart and mind to imagine.

  8. Anonymous10:55 PM

    "Heresy a priori makes him less than fine and incapable of being virtuous. There is no virtuous heretic anymore than there is a virtuous adulterer."

    That is not what Aquinas would say, if you read your Summa (though don't let him spoil your judgementalism here).

  9. Johannes2:59 AM

    - "That is not what Aquinas would say, if you read your Summa (though don't let him spoil your judgementalism here)."

    I shall not - as my judgmentalism here is shared with and taken directly from several of the fathers. I am not a Thomist. Alms were not even accepted from pagans or heretics for well over a thousand years. Marcion was sent away from Rome with his twenty two thousand sesterces.

    The Living God is a Judge. He is the Judge. I do not know if your Protestant president of a Catholic body shall convert before his death or before Christ shall come. But as he is - it is not a matter of private judgment. He is a heretic. He does not deny it. I am not judging him - I am agreeing with him. As a heretic he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. But he can be virtuous? It seems to me that your private judgment of this heretic - so long as he is a heretic - is directly contradicting that of the Living God. That was my point at the end of the other comment. You are defending someone as virtuous who if he should die this day as he is - that Day he shall be condemned by Christ Himself.

  10. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Johannes, the view you are espousing is classical Calvinism, not Thomism. This sort of theological confusion often happens when people rush to judge and condemn.

  11. Johannes7:35 PM

    - "Johannes, the view you are espousing is classical Calvinism, not Thomism. This sort of theological confusion often happens when people rush to judge and condemn."

    First - I said I was not a Thomist. Second - I am not a Calvinist. If there is theological confusion here - it is not on my part. And shall I hold you to be above calling someone a heretic with whom you have entered into an argument for having attacked a defence of a heretic?

    I am Catholic and therefore if I held fatalism or double predestination (which is heresy) I would be an Augustinian. I have not stated that he is predestined to remain a Protestant unto condemnation. That would clearly contradict my emphasis that if he died a heretic he would be judged and condemned, which is incoherent if God is, ultimately, responsible for his having been to begin with and remained to the end - a heretic. I wrote that he is freely - I expressly mentioned the possibility that he might convert before he dies or Christ shall come - a heretic and therefore incapable of virtue as one cannot be virtuous while deserving - and he is so long as he is a heretic - of eternal condemnation.

    Deny it. Say heretics are not guilt ante tribvnal Christi. Or what do you believe they are guilty of and how do you maintain that it does not bear upon at all whether they are virtuous or not? Do you hold that paradoxically Christ is going to misjudge the virtuous solely for their name (pagan, Arian, Protestant)? Is that the just judgment He Himself spoke of against the Pharisees and promises on that Day in the prophets? Or is it not virtuous to be a heretic?

    An adulterer cannot be virtuous. A murderer cannot be virtuous. Take an example - if you fast while comitting fornication are you virtuous? Heresy is a greater sin than fornication. Heresy is one of the four - apostasy, heresy, murder, adultery. You misunderstand what virtue is and what it is to be virtuous. You misunderstand what I have written - or you misunderstand what Calvinism is. I less and less believe you understood Thomas of Aquinas. And finally - you hurry to judge and condemn me and to go further and call me a heretic when we began with me denouncing a heretic and that he is a fine and virtuous man - and with you, I shall add for the end, defending him.


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