The Catholic Church puts a high value on social and economic justice, social responsibility and international development. It encourages us all to work for social justice and cohesion through our prayers, through involvement in the political process, and through appropriate activism. The Church does not endorse a particular political party or political ideology, but encourages us all to work for the common good in whatever way God call us.
The term “Caritas” is often used to describe both domestic and international work for social justice and development by the Catholic Church. In England and Wales, international development is the concern of CAFOD, and the term Caritas usually refers only to local or national work. Nationally, the Caritas Social Action Network is bringing together various Catholic organisations in a spirit of collaboration and mutual support. The Vicariate for Evangelisation has a mandate to do the same within the Diocese, and the formation of a Diocesan Caritas network is one of our priorities for 2016/2017.
Two significant Caritas organisations within the Diocese are Caritas Anchor House, based in Canning Town, and the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society. The St Vincent de Paul Society is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing practical assistance to those in need – irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age or gender. It works through local branches, or “conferences” and there are SVP conferences in most parishes of the Diocese.