human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Report of the President 2018

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With a grateful feeling I look back on the work the member organisations and the secretariat in Brussels have done and continue doing.

I trust that each unit: advocacy, humanitarian action, institutional development and communication are implementing and reporting on their activities. It is a pleasure to see new initiatives coming up and growing. This is how we can look at a Region, our European Region, which demonstrates dynamism and follows very closely what happens to people and societies in the different countries. Through the communication we receive from the secretariat we know how attention is given to the situations of poverty and suffering in our own continent and in the world at large. These issues concern me in a particular way: what happens nowadays in society and how does Caritas respond to all this?

A major concern is how society is getting more and more polarised, often reacting to the phenomenon of migration and refugees. Social discussions and political concerns seem to find it difficult to arrive at acceptable solutions through dialogue. In the run-up to the European and national elections, we notice how difficult it is to focus on the common good of everyone, to respect the person behind the category ’refugee’, to respect people with a different cultural or religious background. We see how different political parties forget the inherent dignity of the person, especially those from the opposition, when confronting ideas and ideologies. Sometimes I think politicians and representatives of unions like to use war language more than trying to enter into dialogue with their counterparts. The recent talks between North Korea and the US show that great efforts are made to come together to find agreement, but at the first difficulty dialogue breaks apart.

Caritas wants to build bridges, to create and sustain links with organisations within and outside of a specific Caritas context. To that end, all member organisations should continuously reflect on the signs of the times, especially with regard to the treatment of the poor and the newcomers in our European societies. In order to do this from the Christian point of view, Caritas Europa’s main concern is the constant effort to form our collaborators and volunteers in the different. We are very happy to see that more and more ‘Young Caritas’ members are joining the ranks, giving a fresh impetus and showing an open mind to all. To work for the common good of all people, we need strong links between the different sectors in our field.

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