Cardinal re-elected president of Caritas

ROME -- Members of Caritas Internationalis elected Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa to a second four-year term as president of the confederation of 165 Catholic charities.

The cardinal was re-elected May 24, winning some 75 percent of the votes from delegates from the confederation's member organizations, which include the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Also during the general assembly of Caritas Internationalis May 22-27, members were to elect a new executive committee, which in turn would elect a new secretary general for the organization. The Vatican Secretariat of State had withheld its approval for the current secretary general, Lesley-Anne Knight, to stand for a second term.

At the opening of the general assembly, Cardinal Rodriguez said the way the case was handled caused hurt among Caritas members.

In his formal president's report to the assembly the morning before his re-election, the cardinal spoke about the issue at the center of the discussions between the Vatican and Caritas Internationalis: strengthening the Catholic identity of Catholic charitable activities, staff members and volunteers.

The cardinal said, "Caritas is not simply a nongovernmental organization -- it is much more. Caritas is a sign of the love of God for all humanity. It is a love that knows no bounds or boundaries."

"Caritas gives witness to God's love among us, a love for all people and especially for the poorest. Our experience and our formation of the heart through the encounter with Christ in the stranger and the marginalized transforms Caritas in its daily work into an authentic witness of God's love present in our world," he said.


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