Pope removes Tagle, other officials from Caritas Internationalis

Erik Tenedero. ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2022 06:49 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle leads a mass at the Manila Cathedral during his tenure as the Philippine capital's archbishop. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA –– Pope Francis on Tuesday removed the entire leadership of Caritas Internationalis, including its president Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. 

The pontiff issued a decree appointing Pier Francesco Pinelli, an Italian management consultant, as temporary administrator of Caritas Internationalis. 

The pope also appointed Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar and Rev. Fr. Manuel Marujao to aid the temporary consultant. 

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic charities in more than 200 countries and territories. Its headquarters is in Rome and is supervised by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Aside from Tagle's post, all other positions in the group ceased immediately upon the issuance of the pope's decree including that of secretary general Aloysius John, as well as the members of the representative council and the executive council, vice presidents, secretary general, treasurer, and the ecclesiastical assistant. 

In a press release by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Vatican made it clear there were no cases of "financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety." 

The dicastery explained that after a review of the confederation's operations by an independent panel, deficiencies were noted in "management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team spirit and staff morale." 

"This measure has no impact on the functioning of member organizations and the services of charity and solidarity they provide around the world; on the contrary, it will serve to strengthen such service," the dicastery clarified. 

After reading the pope's decree in a plenary meeting, Tagle also emphasized that the decision was in no way related to any case of abuse or financial mismanagement.

"I would like to assure you that this is not, this is not, this is not about sexual harassment or sexual abuse. This is not about, again, mismanagement of money… The decree clearly stated the intention," Tagle was quoted as having said by Vatican News

"This is a call for walking humbly with God and a process of discernment, confronting our unfreedoms and following the spirit of freedom, [and] at the same time, the walking together of different cultures in their unique expressions of humanity." 

For his part, Cardinal Michael Czerny of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said the pope's decision was meant to better prepare Caritas Internationalis in facing the growing challenges of the contemporary world and to improve its governance and management process. 

"Caritas Internationalis is the focal point at the Holy See for all the Caritas organizations that brings the Pope’s charity wherever there is need. Its management therefore must live up to its mission: the spread of charity and justice in the world in the light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church," the cardinal said. 

Tagle, often considered by the media and Vatican observers as papabile or potential pope, is the first Asian president of Caritas Internationalis.

The Filipino cardinal was elected by more than 300 Caritas delegates from around the world during their assembly in Rome in 2015. 

Tagle is first Asian president of Caritas Internationalis. 

The leadership of Caritas Internationalis is elected every 4 years. Tagle was on his second term, which was supposed to end in May. 

Meanwhile, Pinelli will lead the preparations for the nomination and election process of the next leaders of Caritas Internationalis, which will be held in person in May 2023. 

Tagle will also work with the temporary administrator in preparation for the general assembly. 

The Filipino cardinal, who is a former Manila archbishop, was transferred to Rome after Pope Francis appointed him prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. 

But upon promulgation of Francis's new apostolic constitution Praedicate Evangelium, which reorganized the central administrative body of the Catholic Church in Rome, Tagle's congregation was merged with the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization to form the new Dicastery for Evangelization. 

Tagle now serves as the pro-prefect for the section of evangelization, while Archbishop Salvatore Rino Fisichella is the pro-prefect for the section of the new evangelization.


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