Secours Catholique, symbol of the fight against poverty

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Secours Catholique, everyone knows it, at least in name, but do you know the detail well? This non-profit organization, which is a service of the Catholic Church in France, was created on September 8, 1946 by Father Jean Rodhain and has since been trying to help the poorest and most destitute “without distinction of race, religion or nationality “, as much as it seeks to combat exclusion by means of local support and promotes social justice. It also contributes in situations of humanitarian emergency, political or social crisis, poverty or underdevelopment, carried out with local Caritas associations.

Secours Catholique, a national cause

The association was recognized as a public utility in 1962, then declared a national cause in 1988. It works with the government, by establishing social reports, and it is the French branch of the Caritas Internationalis network.

The Caritas France Foundation, created on April 30, 2009 and recognized by public utility on June 16, 2009 aims to fight against poverty and exclusion in France and in the world, regardless of religion or race.

Impressive figures at the service of the poorest

Secours Catholique manages an annual budget of € 148 million and federates a network of 62,000 volunteers, with 97 diocesan delegations and 3,900 local teams to “bring, wherever the need arises, to the exclusion of all national or confessional particularism, any help and any direct or indirect aid, moral or material, whatever the philosophical or religious options of the beneficiaries “. It also manages three branches: the Cité Saint-Pierre in Lourdes, the Abraham House in Jerusalem and CEDRE, which specializes in assisting asylum seekers and is also a partner of associations it has founded such as the Association of Cities of Catholic Relief.

In France: 1 450 000 people are welcomed and accompanied each year in 2 440 places of reception. Internationally: 480 operations are carried out in 69 countries, in connection with the Caritas Internationalis network (165 Caritas); there are more than 3.7 million direct beneficiaries of international aid.

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The mission of Secours Catholique (extract from the website of the association)

Secours Catholique’s mission is to promote Christian charity through the implementation of concrete solidarity among all, in France and in the world.

  • It considers that men, women and children living in poverty are the first actors in their development.

  • It is committed to their side to fight against the causes of poverty and exclusion, and to promote the development of the human person in all its dimensions.

  • It seeks a militant partnership with organizations that share its goals to promote social justice in local, national and international politics.

  • Testifying of the Gospel, he invites each person to meet the poorest, to listen to them, to support them and to associate with them to build together a just and fraternal society.

Great principles for solidarity action

Secours Catholique organizes each year in May a major international campaign and six main principles guide the action of Secours Catholique, in France and internationally:

  • promote the place and voice of people living in situations of poverty;
  • make each actor of his own development;
  • associate with people living in situations of poverty;
  • to act for the development of the human person in all its dimensions;
  • act on the causes of poverty and exclusion;
  • to awaken solidarity.

John Bang