Social teaching of the church

Why Caritas?

As Christians, we can not be isolated. We have to be sensitive for the people in need so our senses always have to open.

The Church is God’s family in the world. In this family no one ought to go without the necessities of life. Yet at the same time caritas agape extends beyond the frontiers of the Church.

The parable of the Good Samaritan remains as a standard which imposes universal love.

Establish Caritas in your Parish

Parish Caritas does not only give answers to problems of territory, but has the goal to animate the whole parish community: in this way it allows every Christian in actively live love towards neighbours.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:17

Where is my neighbour?

This world is a place where we called to act on our Christian mission.

A woman went to a confession. The priest gave her a penance to do a good deed at her liking. At next confession, she told the priest she had made her penance: “I prayed some prayers for all those poor people who live among us. Did this woman live in this world?

Spirituality of this woman was incapable of doing something good, she could have been concrete in her making of the good deed. Prayer would only represent a cherry on the dressing of a cake, final letter to a specific act, from which she escaped into prayer and therefore reduced, if not deprived, the value of the prayer. 

In the past

The concept of neighbour was understood as referring essentially to one’s countrymen and foreigners who has settled in the land of Israel.


This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbour.

When we should help?

Actual needs do not abide to timetables and programs.

Good deeds must be an answer to specific distress, specific need and not just dependent to the current mood or time available. 

When people in need came to him, Jesus, despite the fact that he lectured to his followers about the need for rest an recuperation, he gave up from his rest and devoted his time to them: “He felt pity for them as they were like sheep without a shepherd and so he started teaching them many things.” (Matthew 9:36)

Therefore Caritas help must be on time. Often this means to overtake the distress itself and act before it arises. With prevention and education, Caritas not only respond to specific situations but also creates them, not to mention the effect of this kind of work with repairing something that is fundamentally flawed.

Love your neighbour as yourself

To approach people, to feel their suffering as ones own, ensure that they will not interpret our assistance they from us as humiliating, but as a partnership in brotherhood.

What is the subject of Caritas activities?

Serving Jesus in the poor.

With helping to one who is hungry, thirsty, foreigner, naked, ill, imprisoned – as well as unborn child, those suffering from ageing and those nearing death – we are given, to serve Jesus as he has said himself: Whatever you have done to one of my youngest brothers, you have done it to me.”

Who should do all this work?

Every Christian and every Christian community.

Love of neighbour, grounded in the love of God, is the first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and the Church universal in its entirely. As a community, the Church must practice love. Love thus needs to be organised if it is to be an ordered service to the community. (Deus Caritas Est #20)

In all that we are doing we must never be just an organisation, movement, society, group, association etc. We are the Church and we are all called upon all people, especially those in distress or need, to show them her loving motherly face.

What's next?

Establish Caritas in your parish.

The crucial role of Caritas is animation of the Christian community for charity. It is not that Caritas resolves distresses, but animates Christians and encourage them to actively live love towards fellow man, so that we can all, as an Christian society, face the distresses. 

1. Identify Problems

Discover the situation in the parish - needs, poverty, emergencies etc.

2. Evaluate Strengths

Evaluate the needs and the concrete strengths, instruments and possibilities with which problems, needs that can be solved.

3. Create Awareness

Sensibilise community through different communication means - Sunday mass, parish bulletin, website, social media etc.

4. Animate Social Activities

Animate "in charity" whole Pastoral Council, or whole parish community.

Establish Caritas in your parish.

Love our neighbour and testify God's love together as a parish community through charity.


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The Catholic church’s mission is to carry out and continue the work of Jesus Christ on earth. Therefore, we seek to work with communities, non-governmental organisations, and local authorities to promote an inclusive and sustainable development for all.

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What is Caritas

Caritas is the charitable arm of the Roman Catholic Church. It is to spearhead the church’s social mission, to respond to humanitarian crisis, promote integral human development and advocate on the causes of poverty and violence.

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Caritas Penang comes under the jurisdiction of The Titular Roman Catholic Bishop of Penang.

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