The event that spawned the idea of creating the Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” was the publication of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical “Centesimus Annus” on May 1st, 1991, the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Rerum Novarum”.One hundred years later, the Holy Father felt the need to give voice to his own thoughts on social issues and articulate his vision, which places the human being at the center of all economic activities.
A meditated reading of “Centesimus Annus” prompted some enlightened people to action, urging qualified Catholic business and financial leaders to join forces, help diffuse the basic principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church expounded in the Encyclical and at the same time look for new sources of funding for the activities of the Holy See, which must respond to the ever increasing needs of the whole Church, or rather of the whole mankind.
Under the guidance of His Eminence Rosalio Cardinal Castillo Lara and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, some businessmen and bankers began looking for endorsements.The idea took form and gradually developed into a series of person to person and group meetings.The response was very encouraging and Cardinal Castillo Lara, having duly informed the Secretariat of State, submitted his project to the Holy Father.CAPP was accordingly established by Pope John Paul II on June 13th, 1993.
As mandated by CAPP By-Laws, the Cardinal President of APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) supervises the activity of the Foundation.Cardinal Castillo Lara was succeeded at APSA‘s helm by Lorenzo Cardinal Antonetti, Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan, Attilio Cardinal Nicora and as of July 7th, 2011 by Domenico Cardinal Calcagno. APSA Presidents have always acted jointly with APSA Secretaries.Initially the Secretary was Archbishop, now Cardinal, Lajolo.He was succeeded by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, now President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and CAPP International Assistant; then by Archbishop Calcagno and the Rev. Msgr. Mauro Rivella (present incumbent).
The first Chairman of CAPP’s Board, from 1993 to 1997, was Mr. Roberto Mazzotta. He was succeeded by Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera (1997-2009) and as of November 13, 2009 by Mr. Domingo Sugranyes Bickel (from Madrid, Spain).
Board counted seven members, all of them Italian.The first non Italian Directors were appointed in May 2004.The same year an amendment to CAPP By-Laws
bringing the number of Directors to nine was approved.The Board has now four Italian members, four European members (from Spain, Germany and Malta) and one member from USA.
From its inception CAPP operates from offices located in the Apostolic Palace.