Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Status of religious charities clarified


From CFNews: Dame Suzi Leather, chairman of the Charity Commission told the bishops of England and Wales at their Low Week meeting that new Charity Commission rules, which require charities to report annually on their public benefit, do not pose a threat to Catholic charities. She said that 'advancing religion' in itself is still recognised as a public benefit.

'Providing opportunity to worship, conducting religious services and providing religious instruction are all perfectly capable in themselves of demonstrating public benefit . . . Put crudely, you don't have to run a soup kitchen as well as offer Mass'. She said she aimed to try and steer a balance between the demands of religious organisations and those of secularist lobby groups such as the British Humanist Society.

Catholic schools and dioceses and most religious orders are governed by charity law and are therefore regulated by the Charity Commission. Eighty-two Catholic charities, including all 19 dioceses of England and Wales, complained to the commission in 2007 over guidelines drafted to explain the new legislation. In their joint submission they said: 'We are concerned that the language used in connection with religious charities in the draft guidance is negative in contrast to that used for other sectors. The only comments about religious charities refer to 'risk', 'public concern' or benefit which are 'too vague or intangible';' they added. They also said that guidance about 'intangible' benefits, such as those of a spiritual or religious nature, was not sufficiently clear.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen