International program

1. Self-Image

The Kolping Society was founded and structured by Father Adolph Kolping as a Catholic, education and action-oriented Organization. The Kolping Society sees itself as a part of God's people. In this way it participates in the mission of the Church - and at the same time presents the interests and needs of individuals and society to the Church. The Kolping Society sees itself as a Catholic social movement in accordance with the Lay Decree of the Second Vatican Council. It is thus based within the Church of Jesus Christ and contributes independently and responsibly to the mission of Christians in the world.

2. Aims

The Kolping Society aims to

  • enable its members to prove themselves as Christians in the world, i.e. in their occupations, in marriage and family, in the Church, society and state;
  • offer help to its members and society as a whole;
  • promote the common good in the Christian sense through the activities of its members and groups and play a constant part in changing and humanizing society.

True to principle of subsidiary, all the efforts of the Kolping Society are aimed at providing help for self-help.
As a world-wide community, the Kolping Society regards the promoting and maintaining of international co-operation and solidarity as an important task, particularly within local and regional Kolping Societies.

3. Fundamental Principles

The guiding principles for the objectives and activities of the Kolping Society are

  • the person and message of Jesus Christ;
  • the Catholic Social Doctrine;
  • the ideals and actions of Adolph Kolping.

A personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ and shared faith in Him are the basis for responsible action by the members and the Kolping Society. The message of Jesus Christ provides an answer as to the meaning of life. The individual feels called upon to testify and share his love and hope with all Christians.
The Catholic Social Doctrine provides guidelines for a social order which corresponds to the Christian view of humanity. It gives the members of the Kolping Society answers to questions about the values and aims by which they should orient themselves in order to fulfil their social responsibility.
Adolph Kolping translated his Christianity into reality in exemplary fashion by placing himself in the service of the individual and by helping to shape our world. By means of a wide range of educational aid and practical help, he aimed, above all, to help young people to develop their personalities and, in this way, to stimulate and create an awareness of their responsibility.

4. Structures and Methods of Operation

The Kolping Society sees itself as a "family-like" community, promoting lifelong faith, education and action. Along with companionship, these are the indispensable, closely linked aspects of work and life in the Kolping Society. The claim of being a "family-like" community necessitates togetherness, characterized by a special degree of openness and devotion amongst its members.
The Kolping Society is open to everyone who wishes to share its guiding principles and objectives, and who is prepared to put these into practice, including Christians of non-Catholic denominations.
The Kolping Society is open to men and women of all ages from all walks of life. In particular, it focusses its concerns on the working people. The responsible participation of the priest has always been one of the special features of the Kolping Society. Priests and lay people work together in the Kolping Society, respecting each other in their individual roles.
The Kolping Society is a democratic organization. It wants to help its members to experience partnership and democracy. The work of the Kolping Society is carried out on a common foundation, being regionally distinct and independent. The Kolping Society considers it a matter of course that the fundamental aims be put into practice in a manner appropriate to the local circumstances - this applies both to the activities and the structures of the Kolping Society. Local groups should call themselves "Kolping Families". Close collaboration with a parish is desirable in the work of the individual Kolping Family.

5. Aspects of Life

The work of the Kolping Society is aimed at the complete individual, who is not only offered help and stimulation in all aspects of life, but also provided with an opportunity to share his/her problems and also his/her knowledge and skills. It is the intertwining and close interrelationship of the various spheres of life that is the starting point for the Kolping Society in its service of the complete development of the individual.
The work of the Kolping Society concentrates on the following aspects: work and occupation, marriage and family, society and state, culture and leisure time. The members of the Kolping Society are to prove themselves as Christians in their profession, in family, in the Church, in society and state. Thus, in the overall work of the Kolping Society crucial importance is attached to comprehensive religious instruction, related to all areas of life.

  • Work and Occupation
    For the International Kolping Society, human work is not only a necessity for earning a living, but it is also an opportunity for self-development and - as a service to the community - an obligation for Christians world-wide. The Kolping Society expects from its members a readiness to pursue occupational training and further education, as well as personal commitment and involvement within the framework of existing opportunities for participation. The Kolping Society places special importance on fashioning a world of work that embraces human dignity.

  • Marriage and Family
    The Kolping Society regards marriage and family as the most important prerequisites for the personal development of the individual and thus also for the evolution of a moral society. The Kolping Society advocates due recognition and preservation of marriage and family in society and in the political arena. It wants to stimulate and enable its members to be witnesses of the values of marriage and family and, at the same time, to become aware of the tasks and opportunities of the family in the service of society.

  • Society and State
    In accordance with Christian understanding, the individual is the initiator, the moving force, and the objective of all social institutions. Through its understanding of the individual and society, the Kolping Society supports all efforts which, while recognizing the diversity of interests and objectives, are aimed at promoting the common good. Regardless of all differences in social and political terms, the recognition and promotion of human rights and the expansion of opportunities for participation by the individual are necessary guidelines for the Kolping Society. It encourages its members to participate responsibly in all areas of society by thought, discussion and action, on the assumption that joint responsibility for the community is the obligation of every Christian.

  • Culture and Leisure Time
    An important task for the Kolping Society is to make all spheres of cultural life accessible to its members. Such an initiation to the cultural activities of past and present is at the same time a significant contribution to meaningful recreational activities. The Kolping Society expects its members to endeavour to make full use of their talents and to apply these wisely, also in the service of the community.

6. Co-Operation

From its beginnings, the Kolping Society has regarded itself as a free social movement and consequently, has always attached importance to its independence. This autonomy in selecting its targets, in stamping its own imprint on its work, and also in the policy of bringing people together, is viewed as a prerequisite for effective commitment to Church, society and state. In order to realize its own aims, the Kolping Society seeks co-operation with social institutions and governments. To this end, it encourages the individual to take advantage of every opportunity to contribute his own ideas to social and political life and gain recognition for these. However, collaboration has its natural limitations, when the autonomy of the Kolping Society to formulate and implement its own objectives is called into question.

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