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Caritas’ Annual Reports
Current Report: 2012

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By His Eminence Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, President of Caritas Internationalis

This is a world where about 300 children die every hour from malnutrition and where nearly a billion people have no access to clean water. At the same time, there are over 1200 billionaires in the world, the highest number ever recorded.

We are scandalised that millions of our brothers and sisters live in extreme poverty in a world of riches. But we are filled with hope because we are the first generation with the tools to change the system that keeps them poor.

In response to the Gospel’s call (Mt 25), the Church has worked for and alongside the poorest people in the world throughout its history. On choosing his name, Pope Francis said St. Francis of Assisi is a symbol of peace, austerity and poverty. The pope said he wanted a poor Church, and a Church for the poor.

Caritas organisations are an expression of the diakonia (service) of the Church. Through our staff and volunteers working at the grassroots, they follow in the tradition of St Francis by providing care to those who are excluded and marginalised.

In 2012, we fed the hungry in West Africa, provided warm clothing for refugees from Syria and new homes in earthquake-hit Haiti. Providing aid is not enough. We must break the cycle of poverty.

Everyone should have equal access to opportunities and services. That is why we’re campaigning for greater access for all to food, that migrant workers, especially women, are better protected under law and that we stop the destruction of the Earth and our environment.

The economics of globalisation create winners and losers, exacerbating the inequalities that already exist. However, globalisation is not like the weather. It can and must be shaped and regulated.

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Only in charity, illuminated by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanising value.”

Pope Francis told the world leaders gathered for his installation, “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

Our greatest challenge is not poverty or the economic crisis. It’s the growth of secularism in many parts of the world, especially in the richest. When people do not believe in God, individualism triumphs over community and we lose sight of our ethical principles.

Only through living the truth of the word of God can we overcome the spiritual poverty of our age and build a fraternal world in which we live united as brothers and sisters in peace.

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