Social Work

Date of this version

Winter 2008

Document Type



The Catholic Charities USA Code of Ethics sets forth broad ethical principles that reflect Catholic Charities core values and establishes a set of ethical standards that should guide practice and ethical decision-making in Catholic Charities agencies. These ethical standards apply to responsibility to clients and agency activities of governance boards, executives, management teams, staff, volunteers, funders, investments, and research.

The ethical standards outlined in the Code flow from the principles of Catholic social teaching and the fundamental values held by Catholic Charities. As the Gospel tells us that the greatest commandment is to love our God, with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength (Mark 12:30), it also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). For staff, “loving our neighbor” is the foundation of the first ethical standard outlined in the Code, responsibility to clients.

Review of the literature on ethical standards and codes of ethics support the twenty responsibilities identified as concern for the client. Although other segments of the Code affect staff relationships to other constituencies, the segment on responsibilities to clients is primary and the most comprehensive.

Published in

Catholic Charities USA

Citation/Other Information

Shank, B. (2008). Love thy God-Love thy Neighbor: Responsibility to Clientsis Grounded in this Gospel Message. Catholic Charities USA, Winter.