International Catholic Peacebuilding Organizations
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories. Caritas provides a beacon of hope for tens of millions of women, men and children in times of hardship and contributes to the development of social justice in times of peace. Caritas’ mandate includes integral development, emergency relief, advocacy, peace building, respect for human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources. Caritas promotes partnership: local autonomy is paramount in ensuring effective teamwork for the good of all. By pooling expertise and resources, Caritas is able to identify issues at the grassroots, analyze them at national and international levels, and then take action locally, regionally and globally.
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) does peacebuilding work through the following 16 categories of activities: Education, Training and Workshops, Prevention and Early Warning, Institutions/Peace and Justice Commissions, Women and Peacebuilding, Security and Peacebuilding, Inter-Religious Dialogue, Business and Micro-Enterprise Development, Media and Communications, Development and Reconstruction, Advocacy and Citizen Diplomacy, Higher Level Diplomacy, Research, Intervention Roles, Trauma Healing and Psychosocial Work, Demobilization, Emergency Response and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
The primary work of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is to engage in action-oriented studies based on both the papal and episcopal social teaching of the Church. Through them, the Pontifical Council also contributes to the development of this teaching in the following areas: justice, peace and human rights.
Community of Sant’ Egidio
In the last ten years the Community of Sant’Egidio has become increasingly well known on the international level for its contribution to peace. The media has spoken of the “UN of Trastevere” and of “the diplomats of Sant’ Egidio”. Trastevere is the neighborhood where the Sant’ Egidio church is near. In the Catholic Church and in other churches the Community is regarded as an important point of reference where the strong spirit of Christian unity is felt.
Maryknoll, the U.S.-based Catholic mission movement, includes: the Maryknoll Society (priests and brothers), Maryknoll Congregation (Sisters), the Maryknoll Lay Missioners (laity, priests and religious), and the Maryknoll Affiliates. Today, Maryknollers help people overseas build communities of faith. Some work in war zones with refugees, others minister to the sick, the elderly, orphans or people with AIDS. Through lives of service, Maryknollers translate the gospel of love into different languages and in different cultures.
Pax Christi International
In situations of conflict or potential conflict, Pax Christi provides a forum where religious and political leaders as well as common citizens can face together what divides their communities. Special emphasis is placed on freedom of conscience and religion. Pax Christi makes frequent interventions, for example at the United Nations in Geneva, to defend conscientious objection and religious tolerance.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forums and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. This purpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to the episcopal conferences which are established all over the world for the same purpose.
Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with General Consultative status at the UN, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. They closely follow the tradition of Saint Francis, striving to bring Franciscan ideals into practice at the international level. They are guided by St. Francis’s loving concern for the poor, care of creation, and peacemaking. In the face of the unfortunate reality that the poor are being exploited in systemic ways, and global peace is increasingly threatened, the guidance of Franciscan ideals is needed more urgently than ever.
For over 25 years, RENEW International, a Catholic ministry organization, has fostered spiritual renewal, reconciliation and healing in countries on six continents. Currently, RENEW International works in collaboration with bishops in Burundi, the US Bishops’ Conference and other Catholic organizations to promote peacebuilding at a grass-roots level through the establishment of small Christian communities and faith sharing. RENEW’s approach of bridging cultural and ethnic divides through a shared focus on the Good News has reduced tensions in conflict-ridden areas such as Northern Ireland, Uganda, Rwanda, El Salvador and South Africa.
Rooted in the church’s mission of peacemaking and reconciliation, and inspired by the vision and passion of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Peacebuilders Initiative seeks to encourage and mentor youth to awaken their minds and hearts toward ministry within the church as a lifelong vocation. Each year, the program equips 50 high school students with in-depth knowledge and hands-on-experience to grow into Catholic leaders and promoters of peace and justice among the poor, the marginalized and the underserved in our world. The program is sponsored by the Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union.
We recognize that there are many other organizations doing excellent work that are not listed here.