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Deus Caritas Est

God Is Love

ISBN13: 9781853909535

ISBN10: 9781853909535

Publisher: Veritas Warehouse - Ballycoolin D 11

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  • Pope Benedict XVI chose the theme of love as the subject of his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. Within the context of the publication of the first Encyclical the Pontifical Council Cor Unum organised the "World Conference on Charity", held at the Vatican in January 2006. This volume is a transcription of the presentations that were made on that occasion along with the encyclical itself.

    It was as if mankind were awaiting a word of faith and clarity on this fundamental experience of love in life for our fellow humans. Echoes of the encyclical were often heard during this World Conference at which there was an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the various aspects of humanitarian aid and the discussion in the various pastoral and social situations to which it is directed.
  • Pope Benedict XVI - Joseph Ratzinger


    Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is the 265th and reigning Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and, as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. He succeeded Pope John Paul II. Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was for over two decades The Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. He is the author of Spirit of the Liturgy, Salt of the Earth, Introduction to Christianity, God and the World, Milestones, Called to Communion, God Is Near Us.


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  • CARITAS, SUBJECT OF CHARITY IN THE CHURCH

    Mr Denis Vi?®not
    President of Caritas Internationalis

    (Denis Vi?®not was born in France in August, 1946. He holds degrees in law and political science from universities in Paris, is married, and the father of two daughters. He joined Caritas in 1975 after five years of experience in the world of international banking. He held several offices with Secours Catholique/Caritas France and became Director of the administrative and legal affairs department, eventually serving as President of Caritas Europa from 1999-2005. Since 1987, most of his experience gained in the field of humanitarian assistance comes from his work as a member of the Justice and Peace Commission of the French Episcopal Conference, as well as being a member of the National Consultative Commission of Human Rights from 1996 to 1999. In May of 2005, he became President of Caritas Internationalis.)

    On November 13, 2004, the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, in the presence of the members of the Pontifical Council and the Bureau of Caritas lnternationalis, consigned to the president of Caritas lnternationalis, the Most Rev. Fouad EI-Hage, the Titular Archbishop of Tripoli in Lebanon, who passed away in May, 2005, the Pontifical Letter of John Paul II, dated September 16, 2004, During the Last Supper, conferring public and canonical legal personality upon this Confederation.

    In his address, the President of Cor Unum evoked the creation of Caritas lnternationalis in 1951, through the initiative of Msgr. Montini, who was to become Paul VI. This Confederation of charitable organizations fulfills the role of animation, coordination and representation for its 162 autonomous national members hard at work throughout the world. Ecclesial in nature, "Caritas, [is] born out of the initiative of Catholics [...] challenged by the poverty of so many of their fellowmen [...] is a privileged instrument of the charitable action of bishops, who bear ultimate responsibility in this domain".

    Back in 1921, Benedict XV had already approved the idea of the creation of an international organization of Caritas bodies, and they convened in an international conference during the Eucharistic Congress of Amsterdam in 1924. Then, in 1928, Pius XI gave this network the name of "Catholic Caritas". It disappeared from view during World War II, but resumed activity in 1951 with the support of Pius XII. This network has been and is active at all times in different contexts and conditions. Particular Churches and the Universal Church adapt according to changing needs and situations, as does their cooperation with sovereign states or international organizations.

    Different contexts such as todays globalization, which, according to Mr. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics, as well as former Chief Economist and Vice President of the World Bank, "is the closest integration of countries and peoples of the world, which on one hand has brought about a substantial reduction in transportation and communication costs, and, on the other hand, the destruction of artificial barriers to the crossborder circulation of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and, albeit to a lesser degree, persons".(1)

    John Paul II also took a stand: "... the Church makes an effective contribution to the issues presented by the current globalized economy. Her moral vision in this area rests on the threefold cornerstone of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity. The globalized economy must be analyzed in the light of the principles of social justice, respecting the preferential option for the poor who must be allowed to take their place in such an economy, and the requirements of the international common good". (2)

    Mr. Stiglitz pursues very much the same line of thought: "It is exact to say that poverty cannot be reduced in a sustainable manner without vigorous economic growth. But the inverse is not true. If there is growth, not necessarily is it to the benefit of all. It is not exact to say that the rising tide raises all vessels. At times when the tide sweeps in, especially under bad weather conditions, it hurls the more fragile boats against the coastal rocks and reduces them to splinters". (3)

    Differing geographical contexts and practices were noted by Benedict XVI with respect to a particular case when addressing the newly appointed Ambassador of France to the Holy See on December 19, 2005: "...the principle of secularity consists in a clear division of powers, which is no way in opposition and does not prevent the Church from taking a more and more active part in social life with respect for the competence of each one. (4) This concept must permit a greater promotion of the Churchs autonomy, both in her organization and in her mission".

    In actual practice, the Church will be more or less prone to entertain contractual relations with the state according to places, circumstances or traditions. In the realm of health care, for example, the churches of English-speaking Africa do so extensively, while the sister churches of French-speaking Africa are more reserved. Political differences, like in the area of official development assistance. Side by side with the scandal of non-respect on the part of the richest countries for the commitment regarding the famous 0.7% of GDP for such assistance, these same countries allocate differing amounts to NGOs. An average of 5% of bilateral assistance is either given to NGOs or passes through them. Spain gives them 20% of its official development assistance; Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand are between 10% and 15%; Australia, Japan and Italy between 2 and 5%, while France and Portugal are down around a sad 0.4%. (5)

    Caritas: An Instrument of the churchs mystical and institutional Charity
    Towards the end of the Gospel according to St. John, Christ gives the new commandment: "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another" (John 13:34). This commandment is new because it is a question of loving as Christ loves, and, therefore, unto the total oblation of life itself. It is also new because it knows no borders. Our neighbor is any man, any woman, no matter what may be his/her race, religion or culture. "Christian institutions and services that would be limited to believers and knowingly exclude others are inconceivable [...] The charity of the Church must always be open to all". (6)

    Therefore, neighbor insofar as the object of love out of charity, neighbor insofar as the subject of rights out of justice. (7) Charity and justice go hand in hand. Paul VI wrote in Evangelii Nuntiandi: "... it is impossible to accept that in evangelization one could or should ignore the importance of the problems so much discussed today, concerning justice, liberation, development and peace in the world. This would be to forget the lesson which comes to us from the Gospel concerning love of our neighbor who is suffering and in need" (n. 31). In the section of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, headed "The Church Both Visible and Spiritual", we read: "Similarly, the Church encompasses with love all who are afflicted with human suffering and in the poor and afflicted sees the image of its poor and suffering Founder. It does all it can to relieve their need and in them it strives to serve Christ" (n. 8).

    Relationships within the Church vary. Caritas groupings have been founded everywhere by the local Ordinary or by the Episcopal Conferences: they are always bodies of coordination and communion created for the diaconia, for the diffusion of charity and its embodiment in the Church, on the front lines of the Church, and beyond. According to n. 525 in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, (8) "The social message of the Gospel must guide the Church in her two-fold pastoral activity: that of helping men and women to discover the truth and to choose the path that they will follow, and that of encouraging Christians to bear witness with a spirit of service to the Gospel in the field of social activity. [...] her [the Churchs] social message will gain credibility more immediately from the witness of action than from its internal logic and consistency".(9)

    On January 18, 2006, when announcing the publication of his first Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas est, His Holiness Benedict XVI stated that "the very personal act... of [Gods] love" must also be expressed in the Church as an "organizational act", and that "Caritas is... a necessary expression of the deepest act of personal love with which God has created us..." (10) Caritas, with its services, institutions, social and pastoral activities, programmes, emergency assistance and care, development and promotion endeavors, social welfare and medical activities, training and studies, managers, supervisors and millions of volunteers, is a pluralistic network anchored in the local autonomous Churches within the universal Church.

    Caritas is also one of the bridges between the Church and the world, a place where the wind blows freely, a place of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue in deeds: "It is the same Spirit of the Lord, leading the people of God while simultaneously permeating the universe, who from time to time inspires new and appropriate ways for humanity to exercise its creative responsibility. This inspiration is given to the community of Christians who are a part of the world and of history, and who are therefore open to dialogue with all people of good will in the common quest for the seeds of truth and freedom sown in the vast field of humanity". (11) The identity of Caritas revolves around charity, solidarity and justice. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, justice focuses upon the respect for rights and promotion of equity with regard to the common good, (12) while "Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones". (13)

    This characteristic triptych involving charity, solidarity and justice has an impact on the identity of the local Caritas linked to the situations in which, in a spirit of service, they come forth to incarnate, to "globalize"- a World Bank neologism stressing the linkage between global and local - the universal Churchs mission in a place, a country, a diocese, a parish, a local community, an historical setting, etc., in order, as John Paul II stated at Vienna in 1998: "... so that the inhuman disparity in affluence within Europe will be gradually eliminated". (14) This is also well along the lines of Gaudium et Spes: "God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should be in abundance for all in like manner" (n. 69), or the 1971 Synod of Bishops: "Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated, because love implies an absolute demand for justice, which means the acknowledgment of the dignity and rights of our neighbor. Justice is only fulfilled completely in love".

    Caritas Spain made a contribution to reflection on the identity of Caritas through the symposium organized in Valencia in 1996. In a statement delivered there and entitled "The Cause of the Poor: A Challenge for an Evangelizing Church", Rev. Antonio Bravo, currently the Ecclesiastical Assistant of Caritas Spain, proposed seven ways of action: cultivate a spirituality of closeness to the poor; acquire a believing understanding of the poor; develop fraternal relations with the poor; love gratuitously; act effectively and with fecundity; love the Church at large through the preferential option for the poor; and dare to proclaim the Gospel.

    The fifth way - act effectively and with fecundity - calls for additional commentary because of the link established between charity and justice. The Church is not there to assume responsibility for society and the poor. Just like the Good Samaritan, her response to the appeal of the poor makes her "neighbor" and she calls others to her assistance. With outcasts and the voiceless, she wishes to be at the table of negotiations, despite the ambiguities of any human endeavor. In the face of forms of injustice and violence, she fights for legislation that defends the weakest and serves them in justice. Such action is based on a lucid and critical analysis that, in itself, does not question either dialogue or collaboration if they serve the cause of the poor.

    These seven ways illustrate the variety of instruments available for edifying the dignity of the human person: from consideration to relation, from assistance to exchange, from project to witness and social transformation. They also open the way to spiritual reflection and evangelization: "For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). John the Baptist, a core figure in yesterdays Gospel, received a message from Christ: "Go back and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news is proclaimed to them" (Matthew 11:4).

    Caritas lnternationalis defines its vision in the following terms: "Caritas believes that the weak and oppressed are not objects of pity, but agents of change leading the struggle to eradicate dehumanizing poverty, unacceptable living and working conditions, and unjust social, political, economic and cultural structures". (15) Caritas thereby seeks the integral promotion of the individual. Animated by the spirit of sharing and of justice, its programmes bear witness to the Gospel of Charity. Its advocacy is based on experience and partnership with victims and outcasts. It makes incarnate the preferential option for the poor and the Social Teaching of the Church. It pursues economic and social justice, human rights and peace. Its aim is to bring about changes in the analyses of leaders, in policies, laws, regulations, procedures and practices. To work for charity means to go all the way to social transformation out of a respect and desire for the promotion of all persons and the whole person, (16) fielding action for human rights and economic justice. As Cardinal Roger Etchegaray stated during the World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Human Rights (Rome, July, 1998): "Fighting for human rights often means colliding head on with the density of sin [...] The battle for human rights is like a war of attrition".

    Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, linked charity and solidarity in his address to the General Assembly of Caritas lnternationalis in July of 2003. This eruptive expression expresses the "solid" condition of humankind. The golden rule of charity is the development of solidarity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthew (25:40) and his Last Judgment depict the encounter with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the stranger, the prisoner, men and women who suffer and are victims: "And the King will say to them in reply, Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me ". The King endorses these encounters of fraternity in what today is an appeal for the globalization of fraternity among persons and peoples. The Cardinal went on to comment on the Encyclical Solicitudo rei socialis, in which the Holy Father says solidarity is a "new" virtue very close to the "virtue of charity" and with its own human basis in the interdependence among individuals, groups and nations; this virtue also has its particular ethics, (17) transforming interdependence into solidarity and thereby avoiding the "structures of sin" stemming from the ill use of interdependence.

    In very concrete terms and with respect to collaboration with societies and international organizations, he analyzes solidarity on one hand as a pedagogy helping to see others - persons, peoples or nations - as peers to be invited to the banquet of life; on the other hand, as a process of Christian identity in social commitment. Thus, the practice of solidarity may be understood as the realization of the plan of God on both the national and international level. Populorum Progressio had already clarified two points in a resolute manner: the obligation of rich countries to assist the poorer countries, and the need to construct an international order founded on justice. In order to take part in this, the Church, like the Good Samaritan, seeks alliances and partnerships with society, civil society and social forces, public authorities, states and international organizations.

    The Encyclical Pacem in Terris, subtitled "On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty", acknowledged the role of the international organizations of the United Nations and the world financial system: "The United Nations Organization (UN) was established, as is well known, on June 26, 1945. To it were subsequently added lesser organizations consisting of members nominated by the public authority of the various nations and entrusted with highly important functions in the economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields" (n. 142)(18). In his Message for the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2006, Benedict XVI writes: "... I wish to express gratitude to the international organizations and to all those who are daily engaged in the application of international humanitarian law" (n.8); followed: "The United Nations Organization must become a more efficient instrument for promoting the values of justice, solidarity and peace in the world".(n. 15) In his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, John Paul II specifically called for cooperation with international financial institutions: "Once more I express the hope, which the Synod Fathers made their own, that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace together with other competent agencies, such as the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, through study and dialogue with representatives of the First World and with the leaders of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will seek ways of resolving the problem of the foreign debt and produce guidelines that would prevent similar situations from recurring in the occasion of future loans. On the broadest level possible, it would be helpful if internationally known experts in economics and monetary questions would undertake a critical analysis of the world economic order, in its positive and negative aspects, so as to correct the present order, and that they would propose a system and mechanism capable of ensuring an integral and concerted development of individuals and peoples" (n.59)(19).

    Cooperation among actors involved
    The example of the Democratic Republic of Congo highlights activities on the part of numerous actors in a country in the grip of a profound crisis. Ever since its independence in 1960, and throughout thirty years of an authoritarian regime, the country has been marked by economic collapses, an impoverishment of the population and the deterioration of infrastructures. The grave deterioration of the situation at the outset of the 1990s was followed by territorial threats, with neighboring countries striving to bring certain zones under their direct influence and control. Four million people have died since 1998 as a result of open warfare and its humanitarian effects.

    A democratic and electoral process was launched with support and pressure coming from the United Nations and the Security Council, together with African countries and the European Union, which, during the Europe-Africa Summit held at Bamako in 2005, declared: "The Ministers noted with great satisfaction the voter registration process underway and the organization of both the referendum and the elections". A Mission of the United Nations was created in 1999 and is now responsible for the logistics of the electoral process. The vast majority of voters had never cast a vote prior to the referendum on December 18, 2005. It therefore proved necessary to create voter registration offices and have citizens register their names on the electoral lists, all of which took seven months in the midst of immense practical difficulties: 25 million of the potential 30 million voters actually registered. Despite extensive abstention in certain parts of the country, the Constitution was approved. Preparations are now underway for the presidential, legislative and local elections scheduled to take place before June of 2006. The potential controversies are many, however: the acceptance of the election results, governance, corruption, reunification of the armed forces, and security on the countrys eastern frontiers.

    As a result, the country has received substantial foreign assistance over the last few years for various purposes, including the re-establishment of peace and the process towards democracy. Numerous countries took part in financing the Mission of the United Nations, and the European Union has been active in all the areas of political, economic and social concern. The World Bank is also continuing its efforts. Deeply involved in demilitarization, assistance on its own scale still remains relatively modest while waiting to change gears with the outcome of the election process. Nonetheless, the Bank is active in the financing of public works, such as the highway from Matadi to Kinshasa, and, in December, 2005, approved financing for: $ 90 million for budget support and $125 million in the areas of agriculture, food security, health care, water and electrical energy. In September of 2005, the Bank granted a subsidy of $125 million to support the campaign against malaria. Thus far, it has become involved in eight projects representing close to $1.3 billion. Much remains to be done after the elections in terms of roadways, communication systems, hospitals, schools and training centers, in order to provide the population with at least minimum access to social rights.

    The Caritas network in its turn supports the activities of the Church in Congo: Caritas for emergency relief, food security, development, health care, AIDS, youth, the demobbing of child-soldiers, and education, or rather an advocacy campaign against rape as a weapon of warfare. Likewise, other entities are active, such as "Justice and Peace". In effect, the Church is very involved in all social domains, but also in the political process underway, supported by numerous foreign partners belonging to Caritas of CIDSE: for example, Misereor from Germany, CCFD in France, Cordaid from the Netherlands, CAFOD in England and Wales, CRS in the United States, Trócaire in Ireland, Development and Peace from Canada, Caritas Germany, Caritas Belgium, and Secours Catholique from France. In close collaboration with the other civil society organizations, churches, and religious confessions, the Catholic Church has taken part in inter-Congolese dialogue and is very involved in the transition process. The president of the electoral commission is a priest.

    The Episcopal Conference has spoken out on a regular basis to support the election process and remind everyone of their duties in constructing a state where the rule of law applies and contributes to sustainable peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region at large. The Bishops declaration dated February 5, 2005, and entitled "Congo Belongs To Us", begins with an analysis of the situation, concluding that "the country is in danger. Hence, no attitude of irresponsibility or resignation is tolerable". The document then addresses orientations to each category of society: "(To) Parliament, which, within the established deadline, (must) draw up a national Constitution which is specifically Congolese [...]; (To) the government, (which must) speed up the unification and effective integration of the armed forces, and through concrete deeds indicate (its) political volition to proceed to elections [...]; (To) the people, who are to pursue their formation to republican and democratic values; (To) pastoral agents (who are confirmed) in the pursuit of civic and electoral education in order to accompany the population all the way to the elections. The Episcopal Conference, together with Justice and Peace, has organized and led a number of "education to democracy" sessions, while at the same time assisting in the voter registration process and distributing copies of the Constitution, even to the most remote parishes. In addition, the communities involved in agricultural or health care projects have also been engaged. A new programme was launched at the beginning of 2006 to prepare for the elections and train election-post observers.

    The action undertaken by the Church is unanimously acknowledged as both efficacious and respectful of democracy, because, as the Church states in the election education material distributed: "The Church is marching together with the people and does not have candidates standing for election". Public and private actors, religious and laypersons are therefore working together in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the international community and its various institutions. The future, however, remains shadowed by the armed conflicts underway in South Kivu, Ituri and Katanga.

    An analysis of this ongoing cooperation brings to the surface a series of questions of principle. The selfsame principle of collaboration becomes an imperative as a result of the integration of competencies and resources. With its network of parishes, the Church can disseminate "education to democracy", but financial assistance is needed to cover the production of material and the travel costs of the formators or educators. The same applies in the area of advocacy. The local Church appealed to Caritas Internationalis, which launched an international campaign on the success of the period of transition and the end to a situation of general insecurity.

    Collaborating or working together on subjects of common interest is undoubtedly one of the ways to exercise influence on the thinking and the practices of international financial institutions. The point of departure for Caritas is the principle that it is necessary to evangelize relations with all due respect for respective roles: state and international organizations dealing with politics, justice and the common good; the Church committed to the animation and promotion of love and charity. This collaboration with all kinds of international institutions, as well as governments and their administrations, is a challenge. The risk of being manipulated always exists for Caritas and for the NGOs of civil society. But what about Caritas? Is Caritas an NGO? The situation can vary from one country to another, since Caritas, always an organization of the Church, is organized and regulated by national legislation in numerous cases, and, in other cases, by Canon Law insofar as it is a direct emanation of an Episcopal Conference; Caritas always complies with national legislation.

    The response to the aforementioned risk of manipulation lies in consistency with the identity and holistic vision of Caritas, whose activities, no matter what may be its legal status determined by the local Church, pursue the development of the whole person in his/her economic, political, cultural and spiritual dimensions. If Caritas is an NGO, it is a particular NGO, whose agents, whether staff members or volunteers, must be professionally competent and animated by the relationship with the neighbor, with a brother and a sister in Christ. If Caritas is not an NGO as such, it does have many of the features of one. Then again, collaboration is always the outcome of negotiations conducted in all liberty. This, for example, is the concrete case of the relationship with UNAIDS: the orientational document signed between this UN agency and Caritas takes into account the latters specific identity. A meeting on AIDS organized by Caritas and the World Health Organization (WHO) is scheduled to take place this week in Geneva. Attendance will include Catholic agencies and organizations with representatives of the Holy See and Episcopal Conferences, as well as international organizations, such as the World Bank. The purpose of the meeting is to take stock of the situation and activities currently underway, while the accessibility of medicines may lead to a decline in upstream endeavors, such as care and treatment, education and prevention, collaboration and financing, etc. Together with the World Bank and international financial institutions present and active in Congo, the issues and areas tackled over the last few years have been numerous.

    Poverty reduction strategies
    NGOs, joining forces in the major Jubilee Campaign 2000, collectively proposed to make the fight against poverty the priority in development activities as a result of the failures reported in structural adjustment. The same rationale was followed in the 1990s by international institutions such as OECD (with the international development objectives later espoused by the international community under the title "Millennium Development Goals") and the World Bank, which had focused its 1990 annual report on development in the world and poverty. The Catholic networks (Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE) were part of this Jubilee 2000 movement and, in 1998, published a document entitled "Make Life Come Before the Debt", asking for debt cancellation to be subordinate to investments in human development. (20) One of the results of the Jubilee 2000 Campaign was the decision by the G7 at Cologne in June, 1999, to center development on the fight against poverty and to entrust the implementation of this endeavor to the international financial institutions. Thus, the Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) were born, the fruit of demands made by civil society, whose participation had been proposed in the effort.

    The Caritas network therefore decided to take advantage of the opportunity offered to it to become involved in the PRS process, and did so by working with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, providing them with input through meetings, seminars and documentation. (21) As part of the effort to train the personnel of national Caritas organizations within the framework of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Framework (PRSF), timely collaboration was established with both the resident missions of the international financial institutions and the development cooperation services of embassies in the countries concerned. At present, initial work with the World Bank Institute is underway in order to identify ways and means of possible cooperation on issues regarding the training and formation of partners.

    The reform of international financial institutions (IFIs)
    This is another urgent issue being pursued by Catholic organizations. It is being tackled within the overall framework of world governance, (22) but special stress has been brought to bear on the IFIs (23) with a series of proposals relative to a restructuring of the respective Boards of Directors. These proposals include a distribution of seats providing for a better representation of development countries, as well as the promotion of a plurality of approaches for equitable development, compared with the traditional "Washington Consensus", which "was happily dead", (24) to quote the words of the Former President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, when addressing a meeting of civil society organizations in Paris on May 14, 2003. An additional proposal has to do with the need to make sure that the role of the IFIs in the system of world institutions respects the primacy of international legislation on human rights and economic-social develop ment. In effect, the Catholic networks are of the opinion that the reform of the IFIs must be based on a certain number of principles, such as solidarity, subsidiarity and priority allocated to the poor.

    The Paris Declaration on the Efficacy of Assistance (February 28 - March 2, 2005) assumes more of a social tone in the mainstream of the Millennium Develo
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Deus Caritas Est