The Catholic Church in Ethiopia

The Catholic Church has a proven record of helping the poor in Ethiopia. Its agencies saved hundreds of thousands of lives by emergency food aid during the great famines of the mid 1970s and mid 1980s. Today over three million people get benefits from its 77 health facilities which range from clinics to teaching hospitals. Over 200,000 people can now reach clean water because of water supply points created by the Church in recent years. At any one time, about 20,000 destitute people receive shelter and care. Programmes like these are managed by dioceses, parishes, and religious communities, although because Catholics are less than 1% of the population, and for the most part as poor as anyone else, the bishops are dependent on the generosity of the universal Church to make it all possible.

The Church does not discriminate in its aid, nor seek to influence beneficiaries of its programmes to convert to the Catholic Church. So strict is it in this regard that it will not accept a candidate for conversion below the age of 30 without a signed letter from the candidate’s parents. This position ensures that the Church can collaborate effectively with the Government in pursuing its development work. Indeed it would appear that the Government is very keen to hand over schools and clinics to the Church, recognising its superior ability to attract funding and to organise delivery.

You can read more about the Ethiopian Catholic Church and its development projects at