INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC ORGANIZATIONS (ICO)
Associations whose members are expert in particular areas of human concern and who witness on the international level to the Church's teachings in those fields, e.g., the International Catholic Child Bureau, International Catholic Union of the Press, International Catholic Education Office, International Catholic Union for Social Service, World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations, Pax Romana, World Federation of Catholic Youth.
The importance of the International Catholic Organizations has increased since the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized the need for the laity to participate more effectively in international affairs. Although the organizations took their origin from lay activity, priests and religious are included in their operation. According to the Church's directives, an ICO must be an organization, it must be inter-national, and it must be Catholic. As an organization, it should be a co-ordinated legal entity whose reason for existence is clearly defined and actually operative. It must have members in different countries who communicate among themselves and develop an outlook beyond national boundaries. An ICO is to be Catholic in that its pronouncements and activities are in harmony with the magisterium of the Church. The statutes of each ICO, and any substantial amendments to them, must be approved by the Holy See. Moreover, candidates for president, general secretary, and chaplains or ecclesiastical assistants require Roman approval. Finally an ICO must be open to ecumenical co-operation with non-Catholic organizations active in the international field.