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Caritas Internationalis

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Caritas Internationalis
Formation9 November 1951
Founded at Vatican City
PurposeHumanitarian aid, international development, social service, advocacy
HeadquartersPalazzo San Callisto
Coordinates41°53′20″N 12°28′14″E / 41.88889°N 12.47056°E / 41.88889; 12.47056
OriginsCatholic Social Teaching
Region served
Membership (2023)
162 national member organisations[1][2]
Official language
English, French, Spanish
Secretary General
Alistair Dutton
Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi
Kirsty Robertson
AffiliationsICVA,[3] SCHR, Sphere

Caritas Internationalis (Latin for "Charity International") is a confederation of 162[1][2] national Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.[4] The name Caritas Internationalis refers to both the global network of Caritas organizations and to its general secretariat based in the Vatican City in Rome, Italy.

Collectively and individually, their missions are "to serve the poor and to promote charity and justice throughout the world".[5] Caritas Internationalis is the second-largest international humanitarian aid network in the world after the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.[6] [7][8][9]

The first Caritas organization was Caritas Germany, established by Lorenz Werthmann in 1897 in Freiburg.[10] Other national Caritas organizations were soon formed in Switzerland (1901) and the United States (Catholic Charities, 1910).[11]


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In July 1924, during the international Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam, 60 delegates from 22 countries formed a conference, with headquarters at Caritas Switzerland in Luzern. In 1928, the conference became known as Caritas Catholica. The delegates met every two years until the outbreak of the Second World War when all activities came to a standstill. Work resumed in 1947, with the approval of the Secretariat of State, and two conferences were convened in Luzern to help coordinate efforts and collaboration.

Caritas was given a further endorsement when the Secretariat of State entrusted it with the official representation of all welfare organizations at the international level, especially at the United Nations. The Holy Year in 1950 saw the beginning of a union of Caritas organizations. Following a suggestion by Monsignor Montini, then Substitute Secretary of State, and later Pope Paul VI, a study week, with participants from 22 countries, was held in Rome to examine the problems of Christian Caritas work. As a result, the decision was made to set up an international conference of Roman Catholic charities.[12]

In December 1951, upon approval of the statutes by the Holy See, the first constitutive General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis took place. Founding members came from Caritas organizations in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. The Church describes Caritas as its official voice "in relation to its teachings in the area of charity work".[13]

In 1954, the Confederation changed its name to Caritas Internationalis to reflect the international presence of Caritas members on every continent.[13] As of 2015, the Confederation has 164 members working in over 200 countries and territories. Its General Secretariat is located in the Palazzo San Callisto, Vatican City. The current president is Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi and the secretary general is Alistair Dutton.

After World War Two, Caritas was implicated in assisting Franz Stangl, a supervisor at the Hartheim Euthanasia Centre which was the early Nazi euthanasia programme responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 mentally ill or physically deformed people in Germany, in his escape to Syria. After Stangl made his way to Rome from Linz, the Caritas relief agency provided him with a Red Cross passport and a boat ticket to Syria.[14]

Caritas national and regional agencies

Sign in front of the office of the secretariat of Caritas Africa in Lomé, Togo.
Nursery home of the German Caritas in Berlin.
Main office of Caritas Albania in Tirana.
St. Nicholas Orphanage, established by Caritas in Novosibirsk, Russia.
Headquarters of Caritas Lebanon in Beirut.
Headquarters of Armenian Caritas in Gyumri.
The Caritas House in Caine Road, Mid-levels, Hong Kong

The full membership list of Caritas organizations includes:[15]

Region Country Member organisation
(English name)
Caritas Africa  Angola Caritas Angola 1957
Caritas Africa  Benin Caritas Benin 1958
Caritas Africa  Botswana Caritas Botswana 1984
Caritas Africa  Burkina Faso Caritas Burkina Faso (OCADES) 1956
Caritas Africa  Burundi Caritas Burundi 1962
Caritas Africa  Cameroon Caritas Cameroon 1971
Caritas Africa  Cape Verde Caritas Cape Verde 1976
Caritas Africa  Central African Republic Caritas Central African Republic 1960
Caritas Africa  Chad Caritas Chad 1986
Caritas Africa  Comoros Caritas Comoros 1979
Caritas Africa  Republic of the Congo Caritas Congo Brazzavilla ?
Caritas Africa  Democratic Republic of the Congo Caritas Congo 1960
Caritas Africa  Ivory Coast Caritas Côte d'Ivoire 1955
Caritas Africa  Equatorial Guinea Caritas Equatorial Guinea 1980
Caritas Africa  Eritrea Caritas Eritrea ?
Caritas Africa  Ethiopia Caritas Ethiopia (ECC SDCO) 1965
Caritas Africa  Gabon Caritas Gabon 1967
Caritas Africa  Gambia Caritas Gambia (CaDO) 2001
Caritas Africa  Ghana Caritas Ghana 1960
Caritas Africa  Guinea Caritas Guinea (OCPH) 1986
Caritas Africa  Guinea-Bissau Caritas Guinea-Bissau 1982
Caritas Africa  Kenya Caritas Kenya 1973
Caritas Africa  Lesotho Caritas Lesotho 1970
Caritas Africa  Liberia Caritas Liberia 1990
Caritas Africa  Madagascar Caritas Madagascar 1959
Caritas Africa  Malawi Caritas Malawi (CADECOM) 1985
Caritas Africa  Mali Caritas Mali 1986
Caritas Africa  Mauritius Caritas Mauritius 1965
Caritas Africa  Mozambique Caritas Mozambique 1977
Caritas Africa  Namibia Caritas Namibia 1987
Caritas Africa  Niger Caritas Niger (CADEV) 1962
Caritas Africa  Nigeria Caritas Nigeria (CCFN) 2010
Caritas Africa  Rwanda Caritas Rwanda 1960
Caritas Africa  São Tomé and Príncipe Caritas São Tomé and Príncip 1981
Caritas Africa  Senegal Caritas Senegal 1966
Caritas Africa  Seychelles Caritas Seychelles 1975
Caritas Africa  Sierra Leone Caritas Sierra Leone 1981
Caritas Africa  South Africa Caritas South Africa (Siyabhabha Trust) 1970
Caritas Africa  South Sudan Caritas South Sudan 2011
Caritas Africa  Sudan Caritas Sudan 1972
Caritas Africa  Tanzania Caritas Tanzania 1971
Caritas Africa  Togo Caritas Togo (OCDI) 1967
Caritas Africa  Uganda Caritas Uganda 1970
Caritas Africa  Zambia Caritas Zambia 2001
Caritas Africa  Zimbabwe Caritas Zimbabwe (CADEC) 1972
Caritas Africa  Eswatini Caritas Swaziland 1977
Caritas Asia  Bangladesh Caritas Bangladesh 1967
Caritas Asia  Cambodia Caritas Cambodia 1972
Caritas Asia  Hong Kong Caritas Hong Kong 1953
Caritas Asia  India Caritas India 1962
Caritas Asia  Indonesia Caritas Indonesia (Karina KWI) 2006
Caritas Asia  Japan Caritas Japan 1946
Caritas Asia  Kazakhstan Caritas Kazakhstan 1997
Caritas Asia  Kyrgyzstan Caritas Kyrgyzstan 2011
Caritas Asia  Laos Caritas Laos ?
Caritas Asia  Macau Caritas Macau 1951
Caritas Asia  Malaysia Caritas Malaysia 2020
Caritas Asia  Mongolia Caritas Mongolia 2000
Caritas Asia  Myanmar Caritas Myanmar (KMSS) 2001
Caritas Asia  Nepal Caritas Nepal 1990
Caritas Asia  Pakistan Caritas Pakistan 1965
Caritas Asia  Philippines Caritas Philippines (NASSA) 1966
Caritas Asia  Singapore Caritas Singapore 2006
Caritas Asia  Singapore CHARIS 2010
Caritas Asia  South Korea Caritas Korea 1975
Caritas Asia  Sri Lanka Caritas Sri Lanka 1968
Caritas Asia  Taiwan Caritas Taiwan 1969
Caritas Asia  Tajikistan Caritas Tajikistan 2007
Caritas Asia  Thailand Caritas Thailand 1972
Caritas Asia  Timor-Leste Caritas Timor Leste 1999
Caritas Asia  Uzbekistan Caritas Uzbekistan 2002
Caritas Asia  Vietnam Caritas Vietnam 1965
Caritas Europa  Albania Caritas Albania 1993
Caritas Europa  Andorra Caritas Andorra 1993
Caritas Europa  Armenia Armenian Caritas 1995
Caritas Europa  Austria Caritas Austria 1897
Caritas Europa  Azerbaijan Caritas Azerbaijan ?
Caritas Europa  Belarus Caritas Belarus 1990
Caritas Europa  Belgium Caritas in Belgium 1949
Caritas Europa  Bosnia and Herzegovina Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina 1995
Caritas Europa  Bulgaria Caritas Bulgaria 1993
Caritas Europa  Croatia Caritas Croatia 1992
Caritas Europa  Czech Republic Caritas Czech Republic 1922
Caritas Europa  Denmark Caritas Denmark 1947
Caritas Europa  Estonia Caritas Estonia 1997
Caritas Europa  Finland Caritas Finland 1960
Caritas Europa  France Caritas France (Secours catholique) 1946
Caritas Europa  Georgia Caritas Georgia 1994
Caritas Europa  Germany Caritas Germany 1897
Caritas Europa  Greece Caritas Hellas 1976
Caritas Europa  Hungary Caritas Hungary 1931
Caritas Europa  Iceland Caritas Iceland 1989
Caritas Europa  Ireland Trócaire 1973
Caritas Europa  Italy Caritas Italy 1971
Caritas Europa  Kosovo Caritas Kosovo 1992
Caritas Europa  Latvia Caritas Latvia 2004
Caritas Europa  Lithuania Caritas Lithuania 1926
Caritas Europa  Luxembourg Caritas Luxembourg 1932
Caritas Europa  North Macedonia Caritas Macedonia 1993
Caritas Europa  Malta Caritas Malta 1965
Caritas Europa  Moldova Caritas Moldova 1995
Caritas Europa  Monaco Caritas Monaco 1990
Caritas Europa  Montenegro Caritas Montenegro 1979
Caritas Europa  Netherlands Cordaid 2000
Caritas Europa  Norway Caritas Norway 1952
Caritas Europa  Poland Caritas Poland 1990
Caritas Europa  Portugal Caritas Portugal 1956
Caritas Europa  Romania Caritas Romania 1994
Caritas Europa  Russia Caritas Russia 1991
Caritas Europa  Serbia Caritas Serbia 1995
Caritas Europa  Slovakia Caritas Slovakia 1927
Caritas Europa  Slovenia Caritas Slovenia 1995
Caritas Europa  Spain Caritas Spain 1947
Caritas Europa  Sweden Caritas Sweden 1946
Caritas Europa  Switzerland Caritas Switzerland 1901
Caritas Europa  Turkey Caritas Turkey 1951
Caritas Europa  Ukraine Caritas Ukraine 1992
Caritas Europa  Ukraine Caritas-Spes 1991
Caritas Europa  United Kingdom CAFOD 1960
Caritas Europa  United Kingdom Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) 2003
Caritas Europa  United Kingdom SCIAF 1965
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean Main Page Antilles Caritas Antilles ?
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Argentina Caritas Argentina 1956
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Bolivia Caritas Bolivia 1958
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Brazil Caritas Brazil 1956
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Chile Caritas Chile 1956
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Colombia Caritas Colombia 1956
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Costa Rica Caritas Costa Rica 1963
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Cuba Caritas Cuba 1991
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Dominican Republic Caritas Dominican Republic 1961
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Ecuador Caritas Ecuador 1961
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  El Salvador Caritas El Salvador 1960
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Guatemala Caritas Guatemala 1962
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Haiti Caritas Haiti 1975
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Honduras Caritas Honduras 1959
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Mexico Caritas Mexico 1973
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Nicaragua Caritas Nicaragua 1960
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Panama Caritas Panama 1970
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Peru Caritas Peru 1955
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Paraguay Caritas Paraguay 1958
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Puerto Rico Caritas Puerto Rico 1969
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Uruguay Caritas Uruguay 1962
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean  Venezuela Caritas Venezuela 1963
Caritas MONA  Algeria Caritas Algeria 1962
Caritas MONA  Cyprus Caritas Cyprus 1974
Caritas MONA  Djibouti Caritas Djibouti 1978
Caritas MONA  Egypt Caritas Egypt 1967
Caritas MONA  Iraq Caritas Iran 1981
Caritas MONA  Iran Caritas Iraq 1992
Caritas MONA Main Page Holy Land[16] Caritas Jerusalem 1967
Caritas MONA  Jordan Caritas Jordan 1967
Caritas MONA  Lebanon Caritas Lebanon 1976
Caritas MONA  Libya Caritas Libya ?
Caritas MONA  Mauritania Caritas Mauritania 1972
Caritas MONA  Morocco Caritas Morocco 1947
Caritas MONA  Somalia Caritas Somalia 1980
Caritas MONA  Syria Caritas Syria 1954
Caritas MONA  Tunisia Caritas Tunisia ?
Caritas Oceania  Australia Caritas Australia 1964
Caritas Oceania  Fiji Caritas Fiji 2019
Caritas Oceania  Papua New Guinea Caritas Papua New Guinea 1974
Caritas Oceania  New Zealand Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand 1966
Caritas Oceania  Samoa Caritas Samoa 2008
Caritas Oceania  Tonga Caritas Tonga 1972
Caritas Oceania Main Page Pacific Islands Caritas Pacific Islands 1980
Caritas North America  Canada Development and Peace 1967
Caritas North America  United States Catholic Charities 1910
Caritas North America  United States Catholic Relief Services 1943

See also


  1. ^ a b "Pope warns charity network Caritas against 'worldly ways of thinking'". National Catholic Reporter. 11 May 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Caritas Internationalis General Assembly 2023". Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. 9 May 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Members". Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  4. ^ "Caritas Internationalis". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Our Mission". Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  6. ^ "Caritas Cardinal optimistic about our aid capacity". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  7. ^ Kington, Tom (26 May 2023). "Vatican's aid organisation brings in Briton to work miracles". The Times. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  8. ^ Watkins, Devin (14 May 2023). "Archbishop Kikuchi: 'Caritas helps forgotten people find hope'". Vatican News. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  9. ^ O'Connell, Gerard (17 May 2023). "Interview: New Vatican charity leaders look to the future after workplace crisis". America (magazine). Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  10. ^ "The History of Caritas in Germany". Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  11. ^ O'Rourke, Pauric (2010). "Caritas Internationalis. In: Anheier, H.K., Toepler, S. (eds) International Encyclopedia of Civil Society pp 98–99". Springer, New York, NY. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  12. ^ "Caritas Internationalis (CI)". Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  13. ^ a b "History - Caritas Internationalis". Caritas Internationalis. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  14. ^ Levy, Alan (2006) [1993]. Nazi Hunter: The Wiesenthal File (Revised 2002 ed.). London: Constable & Robinson. ISBN 978-1-84119-607-7.
  15. ^ "Where we work". Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  16. ^ Caritas refers to the territories in which Caritas Jerusalem is active (Israel and Palestinian territories) as "Holy Land".
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Caritas Internationalis
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