Pope Benedict XVI had issued a new motu proprio on Catholic charities, De caritate ministranda.
Among other things, the new rules appear to tighten the scope for Catholic charities to collaborate with groups with whom they may share specific interests, but which also take positions that conflict with Catholic teaching. In effect, the rules appear to be a response to perceptions voiced over the years that some church-run charities are more similar to secular NGOs and humanitarian groups than to distinctly Catholic operations.
Specifically, Pope Benedict XVI’s legal document, technically known as a motu proprio, stipulates that:
A charitable group may call itself “Catholic” only with the written consent of church authorities. If a particular outfit is deemed to be no longer “in conformity with the church’s teaching,” the bishop should make that known and take steps to prevent it from using the title “Catholic.”
Personnel must “share, or at least respect” the Catholic identity of church-affiliated charitable organizations, and must also “give an example of Christian life” beyond their professional competence.
A Catholic charity may not take money “from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to the church’s teaching.”
To avoid leading people “into error or misunderstanding,” bishops are to ensure that parishes and dioceses don’t publicize initiatives “which, while presenting themselves as charitable, propose choices or methods at odds with the church’s teaching.”