Our Catholic Identity

Photo by Sam Phelps for CRS

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Catholic values of CRS: outcomes powered by faith

Catholic Relief Services is a pro-life organization dedicated to preserving the sacredness and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Catholic Relief Services is a manifestation of love for our brothers and sisters around the globe by the Catholic community of the United States. We protect, defend and advance human life around the world by directly meeting basic needs and advocating solutions to injustice.

As a part of the Universal Church, Catholic institutions are our partners of preference in our work. To reach all those who need our help, we also participate in humanitarian initiatives undertaken by a wide range of groups, such as governments, other faith communities and secular institutions. Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS' association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching. Furthermore, CRS neither facilitates, endorses nor enables any violation of those teachings. CRS and its board of bishops and laypersons have a careful review system to ensure fidelity to Catholic moral teaching and to ensure that all funds under CRS' direct control are used only for purposes complying with that teaching.

Learn more about CRS’ Guiding Principles.

Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.  —Matthew 25:40.

Faith counts: 6 facts about CRS’ commitment to its mission

  1. CRS is an official agency of the Catholic Church in the United States and is governed by a board of bishops and lay people. We provide aid on the basis of need, not creed. CRS does not proselytize. 
  2. The faith that shapes the agency influences how CRS provides aid. A deep love for and commitment to the beneficiaries is apparent in our work. CRS embodies Catholic social and moral teaching. 
  3. CRS works in more than 100 countries around the world, mandated to assist people of all backgrounds to respond to humanitarian and development challenges, building strong, resilient communities and societies. 
  4. Each year, CRS works with over 2,000 Caritas, faith-based and secular partners, including civil society organizations, governments, academic institutions and the private sector to deliver positive, sustainable change at scale. 
  5. In 2018, 93% of revenue was spent on programs that benefit the poor overseas. About 35% percent of our programming focuses on emergency relief and recovery.  Once we meet immediate needs for food, water and shelter, we transition to rebuilding and reconstruction, supporting the survivors of natural disasters and chronic emergencies with reclaiming their lives.
  6. In the United States, CRS carries out the social mission of the Church with 8.5 million Catholics in 14,337 parishes, dioceses and schools.

Values & commitment

  • CRS works passionately on a global scale to contribute to a more just, peaceful and prosperous world.
  • CRS uses innovative approaches to meet the world’s toughest humanitarian problems.     
  • CRS is committed to the pursuit of the common good and focused on delivering sustainable solutions that create lasting impact.
  • CRS is approachable and accountable to one another, our partners, donors and the people we serve.
  • CRS serves those people in greatest need, and is inspired by their potential and opportunities for positive change.

Integral human development approach

If CRS and its partners:

  • Protect human life and dignity by caring for poor and vulnerable people;
  • Increase resilience by protecting, building and maximizing family and community, human, social, political, physical, financial, natural and spiritual assets;
  • Promote just relationships between all people, within and across families, communities and nations; and
  • Increase equitable and inclusive access to and influence on structures and systems at all levels.

Then people can reach their full human potential in an atmosphere of peace, social justice and human dignity.


  • People use their assets to develop strategies to manage risk, build resilience and improve their lives,
  • People use their assets to influence structures and systems, and            
  • Social equity and inclusion are essential to creating an atmosphere of peace, social justice and human dignity.