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New statutes for Caritas International underline Vatican control

May 02, 2012

The Vatican has approved new statutes governing the work of Caritas International, after the Holy See intervened last year to reinforce the distinctly Catholic identity of the organization, which is an umbrella group for Catholic charitable agencies.

The new statutes underline the status of Caritas International as a “juridical person” within the Church. The agency is subject to direction from the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and all officials are expected to pledge their loyalty to the Holy See. Cor Unum will approve any formal statements made by Caritas International, and supervise cooperative agreements between Caritas International and other charitable agencies.

Last year, in a move indicating concern about the alliances that Caritas International had formed with some secular non-profit groups, the Vatican declined to approve a renewed term for the group’s secretary-general, Lesley-Anne Knight. After a lively controversy over the Vatican’s action, delegates of Caritas International selected a new leader, Michel Roy.


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