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Pope Francis dismisses Cardinal Tagle, entire leadership of Vatican charity confederation

By NICK GARCIA Published Nov 24, 2022 1:51 pm

Pope Francis has replaced Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as president of Caritas Internationalis (CI), Vatican's global confederation of Catholic charities, amid an organizational restructuring after a review found "real deficiencies" in its management and procedures.

According to a Vatican decree dated Nov. 21, Francis found it "necessary" to revise the current regulatory framework of Caritas Internationalis, "to make it more appropriate to the statutory functions of the organization."

Members of the representative council and the executive council, the president and vice presidents, the secretary general, the treasurer, and the ecclesiastical assistant "shall cease from their respective offices," the Pope said.

In the decree, Francis didn't mention other details regarding the removal of the CI's entire leadership.

But the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), which supervises the CI, found in a workplace review that there were "real deficiencies" in management and procedures, "seriously prejudicing team-spirit and staff morale.”

“No evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety," the DPIHD said in a statement.

It noted that the move “has no impact on the functioning of member organizations and the services of charity and solidarity they provide around the world."

Francis appointed Pier Francesco Pinelli as temporary administrator, until new officials are elected in their general assembly in May 2023. In a press release, Pinelli is described as a “well-known organizational consultant and administrator" whose volunteer works include "the recovery drugs addicts, in development cooperation, support for missionary works, and catechesis."

Tagle himself announced the CI's restructuring during their plenary meeting in Rome on Nov. 22.

The former archbishop of Manila will be assisting Pinelli by handling relations with local churches and member organizations of the CI before the elections of new officials next year.

The temporary administrator will also receive support from Dr. Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar and Rev. Fr. Manuel Morujão during the transition.

In an interview with Vatican News, Tagle said the decree is a call for walking humbly with God and a process of discernment and confronting their "unfreedoms."

He assured the public that though the decision might be "disturbing or confusing," it's for the further betterment of the CI.

“I would like to assure you that this is not, this is not, this is not about sexual harassment or sexual abuse," Tagle said. "This is not about, again, mismanagement of money."

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

The CI, according to the Vatican decree, assists the Pope and bishops to exercise their ministry to the poorest and most in need; manages humanitarian emergencies; and collaborates in promoting charity and justice worldwide “in the light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church."