Pope Francis Boots Catholic Church’s Caritas Internationalis Leadership, Appoints Temporary Admin

Pope Francis announced on Nov. 22 the ousting of key leaders of Caritas Internationalis, the Roman Catholic Church’s top humanitarian and social services organization.

The pope reportedly made the decision to rectify the issues identified in a recent internal review of the confederation’s management and morality standing. Caritas comprises 162 organizations worldwide that offer social, development, and relief services.

Details Behind the Move

According to NCR Online, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development issued a two-page document explaining the ouster of Caritas’ key leaders.

The statement quoted by NCR Online said that while the internal review found “no evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety… real deficiencies were noted in management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team-spirit and staff morale.”

The report bared that the Vatican kickstarted the review process in early 2022 in a bid to assess Caritas’ leadership’s “alignment with Catholic values of human dignity and respect for each person.” 

With the boot, Caritas Internationalis will now be led by Pier Francesco Pinelli, an Italian entrepreneur. His post will be on a temporary basis, the news outlet bared. Pinelli will replace Aloysius John, Caritas’ former secretary general.

Pinelli was a former member of a Vatican arm that reorganized in 2021 the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. John, meanwhile, began as Caritas’ secretary general in 2019.

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Transition Period for Caritas Internationalis

The same report disclosed that all the leadership posts under Caritas will stop while the temporary administration under Pinelli is in effect.

Pinelli’s transitional leadership will continue until the May 2023 General Assembly, during which there will be a fresh set of official leaders, particularly for the president, secretary general, and treasurer posts.

Aside from John’s secretary general position, the other vacant positions at Caritas include the treasurer and ecclesiastical assistant. The president, vice president, and all seven executive board members have also been declared vacant.

Aside from Pinelli, the Vatican leadership had also tapped Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar and Jesuit priest Manuel Morujao to assist the former.

Announcement of the Vatican Decision

According to the same report, Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle read Pope Francis’s decree concerning the leadership change at Caritas during the Nov. 22 plenary meetings of the confederation held in Rome.

Those who attended the plenary sessions reportedly applauded the announcement. John was conspicuously absent at the two-day event.

During the announcement, Cardinal Tagle remarked that changes like the one in Caritas serve as moments to ‘face failures and walk humbly with God and to a process of discernment.’

Tagle previously served as Caritas’ president in May 2015 and was given another stint in May 2019. The news outlet said Tagle would remain the liaison between Caritas and the Vatican throughout the transitionary administration.

His profile said that Tagle is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Metropolitan Archbishop emeritus of Manila, and the Gran Chancellor of the Pontifical University Urbaniana. 

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