(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 11.22.2022).- After a review of its operations by an independent panel, the management of Caritas Internationalis (CI) has been put under temporary administration in order to improve its management norms and procedures – even while financial matters have been well-handled and fundraising goals regularly achieved – and so better to serve its member charitable organizations around the world.
The Holy Father today appointed Mr Pier Francesco Pinelli as Temporary Administrator of Caritas Internationalis, effective 22 November 2022. Pinelli is a well-known organizational consultant and administrator. He will be supported by Ms Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar, current Head of Advocacy for CI, and by Fr Manuel Morujão S.J. for the personal and spiritual accompaniment of the staff.
During the temporary administration, all the current leadership appointments cease. 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.
Pinelli and Alonso will manage CI’s operations and provide stability and empathetic leadership. They will work to complete the candidate nomination and election process as described in the organization’s Statutes. CI will hold the next regular in-person General Assembly of its member organizations, including the election of the President, General Secretary and the Treasurer. The Assembly will be held in person, as foreseen, in May 2023. For the preparation of the next General Assembly, the Administrator will be supported by Card. Luis Antonio Tagle, who will particularly liaise with the local Churches and the Member Organizations of Caritas Internationalis.
According to the new apostolic constitution of the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) “exercises the responsibilities reserved by law to the Holy See in establishing and supervising international charitable associations and funds created for the same purposes, in accordance with the provisions of the respective statutes and in compliance with current legislation” (Art 174 § 3). The DPIHD “is competent with regard to Caritas Internationalis …, according to [its] statutes” (Art 174 § 2).
Earlier this year, the DPIHD commissioned a review of the workplace environment of the CI General Secretariat and its alignment with Catholic values of human dignity and respect for each person. The review was carried out by a panel of independent experts that included, in addition to Mr Pinelli, psychologists Fr Enrico Parolari and Dr Francesca Busnelli.
Current and former CI employees were invited to participate. No evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety, but other important themes and areas for urgent attention emerged from the panel’s work. Real deficiencies were noted in management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team-spirit and staff morale.
“In recent years we have seen the needs of the many whom Caritas serves increase markedly, and it is imperative that Caritas Internationalis be well prepared to meet these challenges,” said Cardinal Michael Czerny S.J., Prefect of the DPIHD. “Pope Francis invites us to consider ‘the mission that Caritas is called to carry out in the Church… Charity is not a barren service nor a simple offering to be made in order to ease our conscience. What we must never forget is that charity has its origin and its essence in God himself (cf. 1 Jn 4:8); charity is God our Father’s embrace of every person, particularly of the least and the suffering, those who occupy a preferential place in his heart’ (27 May 2019). These words inspire everyone involved in CI to ensure the organization proves equal to its mission.”
Informed by the evaluation and motivated to help bring the Roman office up to a standard commensurate with CI’s mission, the DPIHD will continue to exercise its “competence” in favor of Caritas Internationalis, encouraging the resolution of the issues elucidated in the review. Given the importance of CI’s mission and the urgency of improving its management, everyone’s continuing prayers and ongoing support are warmly requested.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The mission of the member organizations is to work to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed.
Caritas Internationalis, the headquarters of the federation of Caritas organizations, is incorporated in the Holy See and is supervised by the DPIHD.