CAFOD and Catholicism
At CAFOD, our mission is to work alongside the world’s poorest people. We work without prejudice, we don’t preach, and we pride ourselves on our diversity. We believe our Catholic values are best shown through working for justice and an end to poverty.
CAFOD’s Vision, Mission and Values draw directly from Catholic Social Teaching (CST), Scripture and the tradition of the Church. CST is at the heart of what we do and who we are.
As well as asking our supporters to donate and campaign, we place equal importance on prayer. Prayer informs and underpins our work. We provide prayers and reflections for our supporters and use prayer for our own guidance and inspiration.
CAFOD is an integral part of the Catholic Church. Our supporters are mainly from the Catholic community and our mandate comes from the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, but we welcome support from people of all faiths and none. We have offices in each diocese of England and Wales, which work directly with the parish communities in their area.
The value of partnership, present throughout CST, is central to CAFOD’s work overseas. We rely on and empower local partners who have technical expertise. Because they are part of their communities, they are best placed to respond to needs. Where appropriate, we work through the Catholic Church. This extends our reach: often it’s the Church that reaches the poorest people, in areas where social care and government structures aren’t so strong.
Read our Vision, Mission and Values
CAFOD and Catholic Social Teaching (CST)
CST is founded in scripture and includes statements and letters written by popes and bishops. It shows how Catholic faith can guide our responses to modern day issues.
Our world so often seems ruled by greed and corruption. But CST undermines self-interest. Gaudium et Spes #69 states that “God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples…goods should be in abundance for all in like manner.” In even more strident terms, it reminds us to "Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him". We have a clear duty actively to share resources and strive for justice for our brothers and sisters. Neutrality is not enough.
Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio quotes St Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his...The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich."
This vision is key to CST and to our work. Since we believe each person is made in the image and likeness of God and has inherent dignity, we work with those living in poverty to have access to food, water, housing and other basic amenities which many of us can often take for granted.
Find out more about Catholic Social Teaching