Changes at Caritas Internationalis call for humility, discernment —Cardinal Tagle

November 24, 2022 - 10:51 AM
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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle speaks before the delegates of the general conference of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Thailand on Oct. 29, 2022. (Roy Lagarde via CBCP News)

Pope Francis’ decision to relaunch Caritas Internationalis and its services is meant to be a process of ‘humility’ and ‘discernment’, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said.

The cardinal, who is now president emeritus of the global confederation of Catholic charities, said the move came after a “careful and independent study” of the governance and working environment of the agency.

“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,” Tagle told Vatican News.

Acknowledging the decision “might be disturbing or confusing to some of you,” he assured that its intention is for the further betterment of Caritas.

“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 said.

In a new decree released November 22, Pope Francis has placed CI management under temporary administration, in order to improve its internal procedures and better serve its charitable organizations worldwide.

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This means that the roles of president, vice presidents, general secretary and ecclesiastical assistant, as well as all the other current of governance cease.

The decree was read by Tagle himself during the confederation’s plenary meetings in Rome on Tuesday.

The Filipino cardinal had served as the organization’s president since May 2015 and was reelected for a second and last term in May 2019.

The elections for Caritas’ new leadership would take place during its May 2023 assembly as formally scheduled.

For its preparation, Tagle will support the temporary administration and will liaise with local churches and the member organizations of CI.

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development had earlier commissioned a review of the workplace environment of the CI general secretariat.

Current and former CI employees were heard by the Commission, and “no evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety”.

The changes, however, were deemed necessary to review Caritas norms and procedures.

The decree also stated that the measure “has no impact on the functioning of member organizations and the services of charity and solidarity they provide around the world”.