Caritas Italiana is the Pastoral Body created by the Italian Episcopal Conference in order to promote, in cooperation with other bodies as well, the charity commitment of the Italian ecclesiastical community, in the forms that are appropriate considering time and needs, for a complete development of man, social justice and peace, with particular attention to the poor and with a mainly pedagogical function.
According to the canon law Caritas Italiana is a public juridical person and it is civil recognised as being an ecclesiastical body.
Its seat is in Rome and it is legally represented by its President.
According to article 1, Caritas Italiana has to carry out the following tasks:
a) cooperating with the Bishops in promoting within the local Churches (Dioceses), the consciousness raising of the sense of charity towards communities and people in difficulties, as well as the duty of translating it into concrete actions, having a promotional and, when possible, preventive nature;
b) coordinating initiatives, charitable actions and assistance interventions of Christian inspiration;
c) start, organise and coordinate emergency actions in case of public calamities, in Italy or abroad;
d) cooperating with other bodies inspired to Christian principles:
- carrying out studies and research on the needs in order to identify the causes, preparing both preventive and curative intervention plans, within the common pastoral programming and in order to stimulate the action of the civil institution towards an appropriate legislation;
- promoting voluntary service and encouraging the training of the pastoral charity operator, as well as those people, voluntary and professional workers inspired by Christian principles, committed to both private and public social services and in human promotion activities;
- contributing to the Developing Countries' human and social development by awakening public opinion, offering services, financial help as well as by coordinating the initiatives of the various groups and movements inspired by Christian values.
Caritas Italiana is composed of the following bodies:
- The Board of Directors;
- the President;
- the General Director;
- the Treasurer;
- the National Council;
- the Auditor's Committee.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors is composed of the President Bishop, two Bishops elected by the Italian Episcopal Conference Permanent Episcopal Council, chosen among the members of the Commissione Episcopale per il Servizio della Carità (Episcopal Commission for the service of Charity), by the General Director, the Tresaurer and three Regional Delegates elected by the National Council.
It ordinarily meets every two months.
If the President is absent the meeting is chaired by the oldest or first ordained Bishop.
For the meeting to be valid the presence of the President, of one of the Bishops and at least four other members is necessary.
The unjustified absence in two consecutive meetings causes the loss of all the membership appointed by the National Council. The loss is declared by the President and the National Council provides for the replacement.
The Vice Directors take part in the meetings with no right to vote, one of them acts as a secretary.
The President is the Bishop chairing the Commissione Episcopale per il Servizio della Carità (Episcopal Commission for the Service of Charity), a body of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
a) legally represents Caritas Italiana;
b) he calls and chairs the National Council an the Board of Directors meetings;
c) he adopts the ordinary business measures;
d) he keeps in contact with the Italian Episcopal Conference Board of Directors and refers to the Permanent Episcopal Council and to the Italian Episcopal Conference General Assembly about Caritas Italiana activity, every time he is asked to do so or he considers appropriate to;
e) he can delegate to the General Director some of his functions.
TASKS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors:
a) assists the President in carrying out the tasks envisaged by the Statute;
b) it draws up the activities programmes, annually submitted to the approval of the National Council;
c) it approves the financial plan for the annual activities programme as well as the annual balance sheet to be submitted to the approval of the Italian Episcopal Conference Board of Directors, according to article 17;
d) it deliberates on the occasion of extraordinary actions;
e) in case of necessity and emergency it approves the measures of competence of the National Council, which have to be ratified by the Council itself in its first meeting;
f) it appoints one or more Vice Directors;
g) it proposes the appointment of the treasurer to the National Council;
h) it deliberates on the personnel regulations, on the hiring of the personnel, on the choice of the counsellors and the internal regulation of the different offices;
i) it presents to the National Council eventual modifications of the Statute to be submitted, after the affirmative vote of the Council itself, to the approval of the Italian Episcopal Conference;
l) it presents Caritas Italiana Rules to the National Council for the approval.
THE GENERAL DIRECTOR
The General Director is appointed by the Italian Episcopal Conference Permanent Episcopal Council, on the advice of Caritas Italiana Board of Directors.
The General Director manages Caritas Italiana ordinary activities, according to the Board of Directors deliberations and the advice of the National Council; according to article 6/e he carries out representative functions if delegated by the President.
THE VICE DIRECTORS
The General Director is assisted by one or more Vice Directors, appointed by the Board of Directors.
The Vice Directors:
a) collaborate with the General Director in carrying out activities and, in particular, in coordinating the offices, according to the commission received by the Board of Directors;
b) one of them is appointed to replace the General Director in case he is absent;
c) according to articles 5 and 11, one of them takes the secretary functions during the Board of Directors and National Council meetings.
The Tresaurer is appointed by the National Council on proposal of the Board of Directors.
a) manages Caritas Italiana property and funds as well as the fund donated in different ways, according to the directions of the Board of Directors;
b) he presents the annual budget and the balance sheet;
c) he checks on the book-keeping.
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
The National Council is composed of:
a) the three Bishops members of the Board of Directors;
b) the General Director and the Tresaurer;
c) one delegate for each ecclesiastical Region (presbyter, deacon or member of a Religious Congregation or layman) appointed by the Regional Episcopal Conference concerned;
d) four members, respectively appointed by the Conferenza Italiana dei Superiori Maggiori-Cism (Male Religious Congregation), by the Unione delle Superiore Maggiori d'Italia-Usmi (Women Religious Congregation), by the Conferenza degli Istituti Missionari Italiani-Cimi (Conference of the Italian Missionary Congregations), and by the Conferenza Italiana degli Istituti Secolari-Ciis- (Conference of the Italian Laic Congregation);
e) four laymen elected by the National Council for the Apostolate of Laymen.
If the President is absent, the national Council is chaired by the older or first ordinated Bishop.
The National Council meets at least twice a year.
The unjustified absence in more than two consecutive meetings automatically determines the Member's loss of office.
In order for the National Council meetings to be valid the presence of two thirds of the members is necessary. Those who are unjustified absent are summed up with the present members.
The Vice Directors take part in the National council meetings, with no right to vote. One of them acts as a secretary.
TASKS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
The National Council:
a) deliberates, on proposal of the Board of Directors, about the modifications to the Statute to be submitted to the approval of the Italian Episcopal Conference;
b) it approves Caritas Italiana Rules;
c) it elects three Regional Delegates as members of the Board of Directors;
d) it appoints the Treasurer, on proposal of the Board of Directors;
e) it approves the policy proposals for the Diaconia della Carità (Diakonate of Charity) presented by the Board of Directors and makes its own proposals;
f) it asks to the Italian Episcopal Conference bodies concerned, the approval for the statements and important documents it intends to publish;
g) it approves the annual activities programme.
THE AUDITORS' COMMITTEE
The Auditors' Committee is appointed by the Italian Episcopal Conference Permanent Episcopal Council.
It is composed of three members. The senior one is the President
The Auditors' Council:
a) guarantees the correct administration and checks on the regular book-keeping as well as on the correspondence between the balance sheet and the accounts book;
b) it controls the financial operations;
c) it draws up and presents to Caritas Board of Directors an annual Report enclosed to the balance sheet, to be submitted to the Italian Episcopal Conference Board of Directors, according to articles 7/c and 17.