|Founded||9 November 1951|
|Focus||Humanitarian aid, International development and social service|
|Luis Antonio Tagle, president|
Collectively and individually, their missions are to work to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed. The first Caritas organization was established by Lorenz Werthmann on 9 November 1897 in Freiburg (headquarters for Germany). Other national Caritas organizations were soon formed in Switzerland (1901) and the United States (Catholic Charities, 1910).
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In July 1924, during the international Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam, 60 delegates from 22 countries formed a conference, with headquarters at Caritas Switzerland in Luzern. In 1928, the conference became known as Caritas Catholica. The delegates met every two years until the outbreak of the Second World War when all activities came to a standstill. Work resumed in 1947, with the approval of the Secretariat of State, and two conferences were convened in Luzern to help coordinate efforts and collaboration.
Caritas was given a further endorsement when the Secretariat of State entrusted it with the official representation of all welfare organizations at the international level, especially at the United Nations. The Holy Year in 1950 saw the beginning of a union of Caritas organizations. Following a suggestion by Monsignor Montini, then Substitute Secretary of State, and later Pope Paul VI, a study week, with participants from 22 countries, was held in Rome to examine the problems of Christian Caritas work. As a result, the decision was made to set up an international conference of Roman Catholic charities.
In December 1951, upon approval of the statutes by the Holy See, the first constitutive General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis took place. Founding members came from Caritas organizations in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. The Church describes Caritas as its official voice “in relation to its teachings in the area of charity work”.
In 1954, the Confederation changed its name to Caritas Internationalis to reflect the international presence of Caritas members on every continent. As of 2015, the Confederation has 164 members working in over 200 countries and territories. Its General Secretariat is located in the Palazzo San Callisto, Vatican City. The current president is Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and the Secretary General is Aloysius John.
After World War Two, Caritas was implicated in assisting Franz Stangl, a supervisor at the Hartheim Euthanasia Centre which was the early Nazi euthanasia programme responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 mentally ill or physically deformed people in Germany, in his escape to Syria. After Stangl made his way to Rome from Linz, the Caritas relief agency provided him with a Red Cross passport and a boat ticket to Syria.
Caritas national and regional agencies
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The full membership list of Caritas organizations includes:
Including 45 national agencies in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Caritas Algérie (Algeria) 
- Chad – SECADEV (Caritas Chad) has partnered with the Canadian bishops' Development and Peace program to provide essential aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad, including access to water, financing for small businesses and agricultural projects.
- Egypt - Caritas Egypt, (part of a Middle East and Africa (MENA) regional agency), founded and recognised by the Egyptian government in 1967.
- Kenya – Caritas Nairobi - operated by the Archdiocese of Nairobi
- Nigeria – Caritas Nigeria claims to work with local diocesan Caritas to bring relief to displaced families in the North East region displaced because of attacks by Boko Haram.
- Uganda – Caritas Uganda (founded in 1970)
24 national agencies including:
- Nepal – Caritas Nepal
- Bangladesh – Caritas Bangladesh Governed by The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh
- Cambodia – Caritas Cambodia
- Hong Kong – Caritas Hong Kong operated by the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong
- Indonesia – Caritas Indonesia – KARINA
- Caritas Bandung – operated by the Diocese of Bandung
- Cordia Caritas Medan – operated by Archdiocese of Medan
- Caritas Keuskupan Sibolga – operated by Roman Catholic Diocese of Sibolga
- Caritas Keuskupan Agung Semarang – Karina KAS – operated by Archdiocese of Semarang
- Caritas Tanjungkarang – operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tanjungkarang
- India – Caritas India claimed in its Decennial Report that the organization invested US$75 million on 14 major emergencies across the country during 2014-2015 period.
- Japan – Caritas Japan
- Korea – Caritas Korea
- Macau – Caritas de Macau – established the Family Casework & Assistance Service, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Home for the Elderly, St. Luis Gonzaga Center for the Disabled and Institute of Social Work, the first Institute in Macau offering training for social workers.
- Mongolia – Caritas Mongolia
- Philippines – National Secretariat on Social Action/Caritas Philippines (NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
- Singapore – Caritas Singapore
- Vietnam – Caritas Việt Nam (26 members of the diocesan)
- MENA regional agency Caritas MENA with 17 national agencies including:
- Jordan – Caritas Jordan has taken part in efforts to support displaced Syrians since December 2011 and is still active in addressing the needs of refugees.
- Lebanon – Caritas Lebanon works through different centers throughout the country, delivering food parcels, hygiene kits and blankets to refugee families from war-torn Syria. There is also medical assistance through mobile clinics and health centers.
- Syria
Caritas Europa with 48 national agencies including:
- Armenia – Armenian Caritas
- Austria – Caritas Österreich
- Belgium – Caritas Catholica Belgica
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Caritas Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bulgaria – Caritas Bulgaria
- Croatia – Caritas Republic of Croatia
- Czech Republic – Charita Česká republika
- Denmark – Caritas Danmark
- England and Wales – where there are two Caritas agencies: CAFOD and Caritas – Social Action
- Estonia – Caritas Estonia
- Finland – Suomen Caritas ry
- France – where the Caritas agency is Secours catholique
- Georgia – Caritas Georgia
- Germany – Caritas Deutschland
- Greece – Κάριτας Ελλάς
- Hungary – Katolikus Karitász
- Iceland – Caritas Iceland
- Ireland – where the Caritas agency is Trócaire
- Italy – Caritas Italiana
- Latvia – Caritas Latvija
- Lithuania – Caritas Lithuania
- Luxembourg – Caritas Luxembourg
- Malta – Caritas Malta
- Moldova – Caritas Moldova
- Netherlands – where the Caritas agency is CORDAID
- Norway – Caritas Norge
- Poland – Caritas Polska
- Portugal – Caritas Portugal
- Romania – Confederația Caritas România
- Russia – Caritas in the European part of Russia
- Scotland – where the Caritas agency is SCIAF
- Serbia – Caritas Republic of Serbia
- Slovakia – Slovenská katolícka charita
- Slovenia – Slovenska Karitas
- Spain – Cáritas Española
- Sweden – Caritas Sverige
- Switzerland – Caritas Switzerland
- Ukraine – Карітас України (Caritas Ukraine), with over 30 regional organisations operating across Ukraine 
North America, Central America and the Caribbean
- Canada – Development and Peace (Caritas Canada)
- Costa Rica
- Cuba – Caritas Cuba
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador – Caritas El Salvador
- Guatemala – Caritas Guatemala
- Mexico – Caritas Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- United States – Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, Caritas USA, formerly Caritas Christi Health Care
Six regional agencies, including:
- Australia – Caritas Australia claims involvement in peacebuilding and reconciliation programs in Brazil, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere.
- New Zealand – Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea – Caritas PNG
- Caritas Samoa claims to give assistance to low income families, provides capacity-building initiatives for women, help with the improvement of rural waters supplies, and provides assistance to address needs caused by natural disasters.
- Argentina – Caritas Argentina
- Bolivia – Caritas de Bolivia
- Brasil – Caritas Brasil
- Chile – Caritas de Chile
- Colombia- Caritas Colombiana
- Ecuador – Caritas de Ecuador
- Peru – Cáritas Perú
- Uruguay – Caritas Uruguay
- Venezuela – Caritas de Venezuela
- Christian humanitarian aid
- Catholic social teaching
- Church asylum
- Fidesco International
- Catholic Relief Services
- "Caritas means charity – In Samoan it means Alofa" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, Samoa Observer, 13 July 2013.
- Caritas Internationalis Archived 9 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "The History of Caritas in Germany". Caritas Deutschland. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- "History - Caritas Internationalis". Caritas Internationalis. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Caritas Internationalis elects Michel Roy as new Secretary General". Catholic World Report. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Levy, Alan (2006) . Nazi Hunter: The Wiesenthal File (Revised 2002 ed.). London: Constable & Robinson. ISBN 978-1-84119-607-7.
- Caritas Algérie
- "Sudan/Darfur". Development and Peace. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Caritas Egypt, accessed 7 June 2022
- "Boko Haram threatens Nigeria's Home of Peace - Caritas Internationalis". Caritas Internationalis. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Caritas Uganda". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "Caritas India sees surge in local donors ucanews.com". Ucanews.com. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Caritas". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Caritas Mongolia". Archived from the original on 2022-01-24.
- "NASSA/Caritas Philippines - About Us". Retrieved 11 May 2022.
- "Caritas Manila - History". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Caritas Jordan Humanitarian Respond towards Syrian Refugees in Jordan". Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Temperature drop in Lebanon leaving Syrian refugees out in cold - Caritas Internationalis". Caritas Internationalis. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Caritas Ukraine, Caritas in Ukraine, accessed 5 June 2022
- "Caritas Canada". Development and Peace. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Peacebuilding and reconciliation, Caritas Australia; accessed 19 November 2016.