Note: English translations of scholarly studies available since 2/2013.
The Caritas and Diaconia Organisations – Providers of Social Services or Secondary Church Structures?
The study deals with the relationship between church operated helping organisations and the churches operating them. It starts from the general charitable task of Christians, which is at present being realised precisely by churchoperated helping organisations accredited as providers of social services. The study shows how the churches’ charitable task is impeded by such a practice. It identif es the dif erent perception of the organisations and their work in the ecclesial and secular milieu as the cause of the situation. The secular setting does not understand the charitable organisations as a part of the church which realises its charitable task through them, but rather as the church’s filial company. As a result, the organisations’ work is perceived in the ecclesial environment as the work of a common provider of social services, which raises the question of whether they are still Christian. The study therefore proposes a basic direction for solving the relationship of helping organisations and the churches ope- rating them, so that the organisations partially give up on being integrated into the system of social services in order to help those for whom the social services system does not provide. For that they need substantial material and moral support on the part of the churches. If the churches provided it, the responsibility for realising the charitable task would thereby be relocated to their basic structure.
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