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In November 2007 approximately 90 Catholic Inspired Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with consultative status before intergovernmental institutions constituted a Forum. In so doing their intention was to identify and develop means of collaboration regarding international issues, in the hope to thereby achieve a more efficacious presence and action. The Forum was conceived as a place of dialogue and exchange among Catholic Inspired NGOs in order to offer a strengthened Christian witness at the international level. This witness is at the service of the common good of humanity, the defense of human life and dignity, as well as the promotion of global peace in a spirit of communion and generosity. The Forum invites organizations to consider the approach articulated in the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate, namely, that new solutions are “to be found together in the light of an integral vision of man, reflecting the different aspects of the human person, contemplated through a lens purified by charity” (32).
The concept of the Forum grew organically over time. The need for a mechanism at the service of collaboration having long been recognized, the reality of the present day Forum developed from entities such as the Conference of International Catholic Organizations that matured during the 20th century. In 2008, Committee Chairman Johan Ketelers described the evolution of the Forum in this way:
"Early last year (2007) a working group of volunteers started preparing a process to examine these questions on what was to become a major gathering of some 90 international Catholic inspired Organisations with International status. The resulting Forum, which was held in December 2007 united during three days of exchanges the representatives of the Secretariat of State, representatives of various Pontifical Councils, the representatives of the Holy See at the various intergovernmental bodies and of the major International Catholic inspired Organizations. The meeting succeeded at raising a number of positive considerations, conclusions, questions and ideas on which to build future collaboration.
The major significance of these first exchanges cannot be sufficiently highlighted: the meeting focused on the concern most of the organizations share in their search for better positioning, impact and identity and which had lead them into many debates over the past years; it brought together most valuable expertise and commitment in operational activities and in policy work covering a vast number of activity fields; last and certainly not least, the meeting received high level significance with the message of the Holy Father, who not only expressed gratitude and appreciation for the work of the international associations but who also reminded that “the direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful – including the members of Non Governmental Organisations – who are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity and to configure social life correctly respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility.”
Today the Forum continues to grow, with more than 120 organizations participating. We invite you to contact us and learn more.