Top ten Caritas myths
Caritas works without regard to religion, gender, or ethnicity.
1. "The Catholic Church has pots of money."
Caritas Internationalis is funded by fees from national members and from private donations. Caritas members raise their money mostly from the support of the Catholic community. Our budget is small compared to the work we do. All our members are committed to good stewardship.
2. "Caritas wastes all its money on bureaucracy."
All our members have a commitment to keeping costs down to a minimum while at the same time operating at the highest standards of professionalism. Because we are part of the local communities where we work, we pay local salaries and rates. Our members who work internationally pledge to only spend around 10 percent on admin.
3. "Caritas only helps Christians."
Caritas works without regard to religion, gender, or ethnicity. We help feed 300,000 people in Darfur where Islam is the predominate religion. Caritas Egypt has 1000 staff, over 99 percent of whom are not Christian. Caritas works in Chechnya, Somalia, India, the Holy Land, Iran, and so on.
4. "Poor people are lazy."
Caritas does not believe in handouts but hand-ups. Poor people can’t afford to be lazy. They’re working hard to survive and give their families a chance. They need our solidarity to be able to transform their own lives.
5. "Caritas is about converting people to Christianity."
Caritas is committed to the prophetic message of the Gospels, but that does not mean trying to convert people. It means giving support to communities whatever their religion. We wouldn’t be allowed to work where we do if our mission was anything else.
6. "Aid money goes to corrupt leaders."
Caritas money goes directly to the beneficiaries and not through national governments. Caritas takes part in building up civil society to hold corrupt government officials to account.
7. "Campaigning for change is pointless."
Look at some of the campaigns we’ve worked on. The anti-landmines campaign brought in a ban, the Jubilee Debt Campaign wiped off millions of dollars of unpayable debt, and the Make Poverty History campaign increased aid flows by billions of dollars.
8. "Caritas is separate from the Catholic Church."
Caritas is an expression of the Church’s social work. It’s as much part of the Church as going to Mass on Sunday, priests, bishops, and the Catholic communities they serve. All our members work with the support of the local bishops and Caritas Internationalis is recognised by the Vatican.
9. "The Catholic Church is part of the problem not part of the solution for HIV and AIDS."
Church and Caritas organisations provide 25 percent of the care to people living with HIV in Africa. Caritas disseminates accurate information, discourages stigma, and encourages compassion. Caritas advocates for better laws to give access for all to care, treatment, support and education.
10. "Aid does not do any good."
Tell that to the 24 million people who receive healthcare, education, have access to cleaner water, or those who get food, shelter, clothing, and compassion when disaster strikes, thanks to people supporting Caritas.