Pope issues new rules governing Church charitable agencies [CWN]

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a motu proprio governing Catholic charities, emphasizing that charitable agencies should operate in conformity with the teachings of the Church. The motu …


Dec 3, '12 6:00 am
Pope Benedict XVI has issued new legislation for church-run charities that aims to foster in them a more explicitly Catholic identity and ensure that their staff members and supporters follow Catholic moral teaching, reports The Tablet.http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/cathnews/RSS/~4/S_fJbc3voHU


Text of letter is here

I am unable to easily see what that is all about. I mean, what will change that I will see at the parish level?

Also, is it trying to say that the society of St. Vincent de Paul, which does receive money collected in the parish envelopes, has to have only members of a certain caliber, and some members will be rejected? Or perhaps that only individuals can give money to it and it must refuse donations from the vast majority of groups and organizations?

What is the intended effect of all those new rules?

The point of the letter is to basically strengthen the specific and especially Catholic identity of charities run by the Church and affiliated with the Church. For example, on one blog I was having a discussion about this in a comment page, and one writer mentioned that one of his diocese’s charities is called something like “Human Development and Welfare Office” or something. There is nothing wrong about that, but it sounds very secular and non-Catholic. It sounds like some pro-abort food stamp government office, if I can be honest.

The National catholic Fishwrap’s pieces are usually utter trash, but this one is actually decent:


This sums it up.

Wow! This is a neat little MP worth filing away for future reference. I am surprised it is not drawing more attention. Goodness knows how much attention the action of some Catholic charities draw around here and in the media. As with all such initiatives, I know it will take some time and fortitude for this to impact all charities, but what a great start!

I like it. Let’s keep it in circulation.

Thanks. I wouldn’t have tried their article had you not encouraged it. It does seem helpful. :slight_smile:

Wasn’t it always the case in a diocese that you can’t have Catholic in the title of your organization without the permission of the bishop? Is the change that it is *written *permission? Or is the change that you can’t have Catholic in the description, and not just the actual title?

Yes, one title I recall is the Campaign for Human Development, I think? Oh, it is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. That name is like the one you mention.


The crux of the matter is…regarding the American church, will the USCCB take heed as it relates to their own charities such as those funded by the CCHD, which we know, has had extensive problems for decades. And on a global scale, what about Catholic Relief Services?

This all boils down to obedience to the Holy Father and if I’m understanding the document correctly, it places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the diocesan bishop and even the parish priest. Interesting… will we hear a response from the bishop’s bureaucracy?

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Among other things, the Vatican appeared to want Caritas, and Catholic charities generally, to have a more specifically “missionary” orientation, meaning promoting the faith alongside meeting basic humanitarian needs.

This is so important and has always been a point made in the earlier social encyclicals. Sadly it’s been neglected since the advent of a more political approach to solving social justice ills.

I don’t know that everything in this new document constitutes a “change” per se. In this case, it seems to me more of a clarification and reminder. Canon 300 requires all “Associations of the Christian Faithful” to have permission to use the name “Catholic”, and canon 298 includes “works of piety and charity” as one of the things these associations might be doing. So in case it wasn’t clear whether this applied to charitable organizations, now it is.

I really don’t think that comment is necessary or even especially meaningful.

That is a reasonable supposition about what is going on, a reminder and clarification. I assume over time more information about how organizations respond to the statement will become available.

No, the word Catholic is in the public domain now because this really hasn’t been enforced at all. There are a lot of organizations that started out Catholic but are only Catholic in name only now. This document gives the bishop a bit more clout WITHIN THE CHURCH to regulate who claims to be affiliated with the Church and who can’t claim it. But out in the public outside the Church, all bets are off. The word “catholic” has entered the public domain and we can’t control it. Probably we need another word.

Really? :D:D:D:D


The Catholic Church in the US has two big wings. It’s split down the middle, sort of. The small side is the parish structure that you’re used to looking at. It’s what you think of as “The Church.” The other side is much larger and more powerful, and it’s the charity wing, which has grown by thousands of percents in the last 2 or 3 decades. It now overwhelms and bullies the parish structure. The money from it comes from grants and donations that aren’t always Catholic. In fact, in many cases the money comes from anti-Catholic sources. In many ways, we’re on the edge of being co-opted. This is, in part, why we have all the crises that we have and everything seems so political.

The intended effect of all these rules is to bring that big social services wing under control again and keep it from EATING the parish structure. Many factions in that charity wing want to be successful at secular goals, and they do not think that the Church’s teachings are particularly important or worthy of respect. They have become secular in every sense of the word. However, Keeping the Church the Church is vitally important. This must be done.

This sort of thing has also happened in Europe in places, so this document is not only directed at us, but it does help us and apply to us. From some extreme points of view, it’s actually quite a radical document.

We are simply being ‘pruned’ in the Scriptural sense of the term. This is not bad, and sometimes it’s necessary. This activity all has to be brought back under control, and if that means downsizing it, refocusing it, or lopping it off if it won’t focus, then that’s what it means.

I’m also not sure what you’re getting at with the St. Vincent de Paul thing.

UNDER OBAMACARE – a program of the US government:
If St. Vincent de Paul has employees they’ve hired, they will either need to: a) scale back to less than 30 hours a week work (go part time), OR b) pay the expensive fines, OR c) take insurance that covers abortion (aka go secular), OR d) get an exemption.

To get an exemption, they have to do the following:

  1. have the “inculcation of religious values” as their primary goal, AND
  2. employee primarily Catholics, AND
  3. serve primarily Catholics, AND
  4. have already qualified as a non-profit under certain sections of IRS tax code.

These are things the US government has decreed, not the Church.

So you see, Pug, there’s 2 things going on here.

  1. Obamacare has regulations that all charities, including Catholic ones, have to obey or pay fines for.

  2. The Pope has come out with a new Motu Proprio because there needs to be clarification over charity work in the Church which has gotten out of hand in a lot of places.

Both of these will have an effect on what happens next.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.