3.11 Catholic Charitable Agencies

1.  Since "the service of charity is also a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being," the following Catholic entities are obliged to follow Catholic principles in exercising the ministry of charity. They are bound to the following norms and the provisions that are contained in the apostolic letter On the Service of Charity. [1]

   a.    the diocese, its parishes, its public juridic persons, and their parts; the Catholic Charities agencies are included in this grouping;

   b.    charitable agencies attached to the charitable service of the diocesan bishop or that depend on him (illustratively, by the DSA, diocesan collections, or grants that the diocese administers);

   c.    charitable agencies which have their principal office in this diocese (see Notes on Catholic Charitable Entities);

   d.    institutions (initiatives) and agencies that use contributions of the faithful to carry out their specific charitable services.

2.  No charitable undertaking may call itself "Catholic" without the written permission of the bishop. [2]

3.  Although Catholic charitable endeavors may seek and utilize financial support of any lawful kind from private or public sources, they are not to accept commitments, conditions or financial support which could affect the observance of Catholic principles in any way. [3] Thus, no financial support is to be sought or accepted from any source:

   a.    which gives it to pursue ends or promote practices contrary to magisterial teaching or ecclesiastical governance; or

   b.    which attaches conditions or commitments to it that are contrary to Catholic principles; or

   c.    which uses it to restrict the right of the Church to pursue its divine mission freely, or to infringe on the civil religious liberties afforded to the Church, according to the judgment of the diocesan bishop. [4]

4.  Once a Catholic charitable undertaking accepts financial support properly, it must comply with the legitimate donor intentions and conditions of the source as well as any applicable civil laws that are not contrary to divine law, ecclesiastical law or diocesan norms. [5]

5.    If this has not been done, they are to submit their statutes for approval according to the provisions contained in On the Service of Charity. The statutes are to include their guiding principles and objectives, their management of funds, the profile of their workers, and the requirement of annual report to the bishop in the manner he determines, as mentioned elsewhere in these norms.[6] A copy of any documents of civil incorporation is to accompany the submission, unless they are on file with the diocese.

6.    Each agency is to submit an annual financial report to the bishop according to criteria established by the Department of Finance and Development. In this report, it is to disclose the sources of its funding, profile its personnel and their formation mentioned below, and summarize how it has fulfilled its objectives according to its guiding principles. [7]

7.    The personnel selected for charitable agencies must at least respect the Catholic identity of their works. They must possess professional competence and receive suitable theological and pastoral formation as well as aids to the spiritual life. [8]

   a.    If an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life sponsors the agency, it is to arrange for this formation in accordance with its proper law.

   b.    Otherwise, this formation is to be provided by programs or periodic activities under the auspices of the Department of Catholic Charities.

8.    Pastors and others are to see that the structures that they administrate or represent do not publicize or give the appearance of approval to any entity or undertaking which presents itself as charitable but which uses methods or promotes practices contrary to the teaching of the Church. [9]

9.    When a charitable agency gives a grant, the provisions of #6.F.3 Grants for Charitable and Related Activities are to be observed.



[1]    Apostolic letter, m.p. Intima Ecclesiae natura, November 11, 2012. Available at the Vatican website.

[2]    art. 2 §2; c. 300.

[3]    arts. 1 §3 and 10 §3.

[4]    art. 5.

[5]    art. 4 §3; art. 5; art. 13.

[6]    art. 2 §1.

[7]    art. 2 §1; art. 10.

[8]    art. 7 §§1-2.

[9]    art. 9 § 3.


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor