Robert Calderisi

Earthly Mission:
The Catholic Church and World Development

"In this absorbing and deeply thoughtful book, he explores the tensions and paradoxes within the Church – complicity with genocide in Rwanda and dictatorship in Argentina versus the defence of human rights in Brazil and El Salvador, the refusal until very recently to countenance condom use in Africa versus determined support for girls’ education. This is a fascinating, often eye-opening investigation that will engross readers of all faiths and none." (Yale University Press)

Read more from the author about his new book on the YaleBooks blog.

Order your copy of Earthly Mission: The Catholic Church and World Development


An economist and writer, Robert Calderisi studied at the Universities of Montreal, Oxford, Sussex and London. In 1968, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for the Province of Quebec.

He started his career at the Department of Finance in Ottawa in 1971, moved to the Canadian International Development Agency in 1975 and to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris in 1978, then spent 22 years at the World Bank, headquartered in Washington, DC.

He was the World Bank’s Country Division Chief for Indonesia and the South Pacific (1987-89), head of the Bank’s Regional Mission in Western Africa in the Ivory Coast (1991-94), the Bank’s international spokesman on Africa (1997-2000) and Country Director for Central Africa (2000-2002). He left the Bank in July 2002 and now lives in Montreal.

His book The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working was published by Palgrave Macmillan (New York) in March 2006 and by Yale University Press (London) in July 2006. A French translation L'Afrique Peut-Elle s'en Sortir? was issued by Les Editions Fides (Montreal)) in August 2006.

In December 2006, The Economist magazine selected it as one of the best books of the year.


Contact Info

Robert Calderisi
703-11, rue O'Reilly
Ile des Soeurs
Montréal (Québec) H3E 1T6


Other Projects

He has written An Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI from a Gay Catholic (view pdf version) and a memoir of his husband who died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in December 2008, entitled A Marriage of True Minds (view pdf version). His new book Earthly Mission: The Catholic Church and World Development is published by Yale University Press.

His next book will be about the economic, political and social challenges facing Quebec.