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 5th, 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 Domenico Cardinal Calcagno. Currently the President of APSA is His Excellency Most Reverend Mons. Nunzio Galantino. 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, CAPP International Counsellor; then by Archbishop Calcagno and the Rev. Msgr. Mauro Rivella. Today APSA Secretary is Dr. Fabio Gasperini.
Over time, also the Presidents of the Foundation’s Board of Directors have changed 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 by Mr. Domingo Sugranyes Bickel from 13 November 2009 to 8 March 2019. Prof. Anna Maria Tarantola is currently Chairwoman of the Foundation.
Initially the Board counted seven members, all of them Italian.The first non Italian Directors were appointed in May 2004, demonstrating the internationality of our institution. The same year an amendment to CAPP By-Laws bringing the number of Directors to nine was approved.
From its inception CAPP operates from offices located in the Apostolic Palace.