Love Never Fails: International Congress Celebrates 10th anniversary of “Deus Caritas Est” Encyclical

The “Love Never Fails” International Congress, hosted by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in Vatican City, on February 25-26th 2016, gave an opportunity for Catholic charitable organisations to come together to discuss the relevance of their work in today’s world. The Congress was organized to mark the 10th anniversary of the Pope Benedict XI’s Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Charity). 

Featuring inter-religious perspectives on love and mercy, and testimonies about the work of Catholic charitable organizations in some of the world’s most difficult places, the Congress reaffirmed the relevance of Deus Caritas Est and the work of charitable organisations in the world.  In his message to the Congress, Pope Francis restated the importance of caritas and indicated that it “is at the center of the life of the Church and […] is truly the heart of the Church.” 

President of Franciscans International’s (FI) board of directors, Doug Clorey, attending the Congress as FI’s representative, was able to meet Pope Francis. He took the opportunity to present FI’s work to him, explaining how FI advocates at the United Nations for the promotion, protection, and respect of human rights, social rights, and environmental justice.

The need to address systemic change was noted at various points during the Congress, but no organization was asked to speak in depth on the subject. “This is an area in which FI could make a valuable contribution and better balance charity with justice”, reflects Doug Clorey.  As is stated by Pope Benedict XI in his Encyclical, “we need to build a just social order in which all receive their share of the world’s goods and no longer have to depend on charity.” Convinced that eradicating poverty is more than a moral duty, and that it is in fact a legal obligation under existing human rights law, FI can indeed to contribute to the dialogue in this area.