Caritas around the world

The Church as a community must practice love.

Pope Francis says, “a Church without charity does not exist”. Caritas shares the mission of the Church. It’s an ordered service to the community.

Inspired by Gospel values and the Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas responds to disasters, promotes integral human development and advocates on the causes of poverty and conflict.

Caritas is organised at local (parish), diocesan, national, regional and international level.

National Caritas organisations are each autonomous under their bishops, but they combine as part of the Caritas Internationalis confederation, which is a body of the Universal Church.

Caritas Internationalis was created in the 1950’s with the aim to promote greater coordination, communication and cooperation among the members present in various countries all over the world.

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The Church has worked alongside the poor throughout its history. In 1897, the first ever Caritas was founded in Germany. Out of the suffering of two world wars the need for national Catholic humanitarian organizations is seen and Caritas begins to grow in North America and Europe.

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Caritas Asia is one of the seven Regional Offices under the Confederation of Caritas Internationalis (CI). It was established by the Asian Member Organizations with the endorsement and approval of the Confederation, during the General Assembly of CI in 1999 in Rome.

Caritas Asia is made up of 24 Member Organizations, of national identity, mandated by their respective Episcopal conferences or Ecclesiastical authorities, responsible for the local Church’s socio-pastoral works. Each Member Organization maintains its own individual autonomy in its relationships and operating procedures within the legal framework of the global Caritas confederation.

There are four Caritas Asia sub-regions: Central, East, South and Southeast Asia. These are based on Member Organizations geographical proximity and common cultural context and understanding.

The primary role of Caritas Asia is to serve and support its Member Organizations in the region in the achievement of their mission, in conformity and under the guidance of the local and universal Church, and in line with the decisions and plans approved by the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis. In fulfilment of this role, Caritas Asia has the responsibility to intensify interchange and mutual aid among Member Organizations for the promotion and harmonization of their work to achieve the goals pursued in the region by the Confederation.

The Caritas Asia Secretariat is located in Bangkok, with a special focus on the capacity building of its members.

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