Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president emeritus of Caritas Internationalis, said the decision of Pope Francis to reorganize the leadership of the confederation of charities is meant to be “a call to walk humbly with God.”
“The Holy Father’s decision came after careful and independent study. There is no question of abuse or financial mismanagement. The work for the poor continues,” said the cardinal.
Pope Francis on November 22 removed the entire leadership of the Catholic confederation and appointed a temporary administrator supposedly to improve the organization’s management.
Cardinal Tagle said the pope’s decision is the result of “a careful and independent study” that does not concern cases of sexual abuse or mismanagement of money, but is meant to be “a call to walk humbly with God” and “a process of discernment.”
The Filipino cardinal read the decree in its entirety in English at the organization’s plenary meeting this week in Rome.
“We have our temporary administrator,” Cardinal Tagle announced the appointment of Pier Francesco Pinelli, an Italian management consultant, during the meeting.
“This news might be a bit disturbing or confusing to some of you,” he said.
“But rest assured that this decision of the Holy Father came after a careful and independent study of the working environment of the Secretariat and the governance exercised by responsible persons and bodies,” he added.
Cardinal Tagle assured that the decision is “not about sexual harassment or sexual abuse …. This is not about, again, mismanagement of money … the decree clearly stated the intention,” he said.
“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,” said Cardinal Tagle.
He mentioned the increasing challenges that Caritas continues to face in caring for the poor and the marginalized all over the world.
“For this reason, the decree states that the Secretariat, hopefully, will be prepared to assist you members and operate in a manner consistent with best practices and Gospel values,” he said.
In an interview with Vatican News, Pinelli thanked Pope Francis “for his trust” and explained that his intention in his new role is “to attempt, together with all the people of Caritas Internationalis, to initiate processes of reconciliation and improvement that can bear fruit in the long term for this association that has been in existence for 70 years.”
He said the pope’s move is “a check-point to improve what is already excellent.”