ROME, May 27, 2011 ( – In an address to 400 participants of the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis – the umbrella group for Catholic charity groups such as Development & Peace in Canada – this morning, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that since Caritas groups are distinctively linked with Bishops they have the responsibility of letting themselves “be guided by the Church’s Pastors.”  Benedict XVI added: “The Holy See is also responsible for following its activity and exercising oversight to ensure that its humanitarian and charitable activity, and the content of its documents, are completely in accord with the Apostolic See and the Church’s Magisterium, and that it is administered in a competent and transparent manner.”

He called on the Caritas members to be “nourished by Catholic teaching and committed to defending the dignity of all human life.”  He warned, “Without a transcendent foundation, without a reference to God the Creator, without an appreciation of our eternal destiny, we risk falling prey to harmful ideologies.”


The Pope noted that in political and social life while it is not possible to speak for all Catholics on “matters freely open to discussion,” there are other matters where there must be unity. “On the other hand, all Catholics, and indeed all men and women, are called to act with purified consciences and generous hearts in resolutely promoting those values which I have often referred to as ‘non-negotiable’,” he said.

In the document “Sacramentum Caritatis”, Pope Benedict defined those non-negotiable values as “respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms.”

See the Pope’s full address to Caritas here