The Vatican

The relaunch of Caritas Internationalis

Pope Francis appoints an extraordinary commissioner to improve management standards and procedures.

Antonino Piccione-November 22, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes

Volunteers in Ukraine in March 2022 (CNS photo / Frabizio Bensch)

Following an evaluation of its performance by an independent commission, the management of Caritas Internationalis (CI) has been placed under temporary receivership in order to improve its management standards and procedures - although financial management is sound and fundraising objectives have been met - and thus better serve the confederation's member organizations worldwide.

Pope Francis today appointed Mr. Pier Francesco Pinelli extraordinary commissary of the CI with effect from 22 November 2022. Mr. Pinelli - according to a statement from the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development - is a well-known professional and organizational consultant. He will be accompanied by Ms. Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar, currently in charge of CI's advocacy, and Fr. Manuel Moruj ão S.J . for the personal and spiritual accompaniment of the staff. During the period of the commission, all current executive appointments within CI will cease. The appointment of an Extraordinary Commissioner for CI will have no impact on the functioning of the member organizations and the global solidarity service they promote; on the contrary, it will serve to strengthen it.

Mr. Pinelli and Ms. Alonso will accompany CI to ensure stability and empathetic leadership. They will work to finalize the candidate nomination and election process as provided for in the organization's Bylaws. The next General Assembly of CI Member Organizations will elect the President, Secretary General and Treasurer. It will take place regularly in May 2023. For the preparation of the General Assembly, the Extraordinary Commissioner will be assisted by Card. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, who will be especially responsible for relations with the local Churches and Member Organizations of Caritas Internationalis.

According to the new apostolic constitution of the Roman Curia, "Praedicate Evangelium," the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development (DSSUI) "exercises the competencies reserved to the Holy See by law to establish and supervise international charitable associations and funds constituted for the same purposes, as established in the respective statutes and in compliance with the regulations in force" (Art 174 § 3). DSSUI is "competent with respect to Caritas Internationalis (...), according to [its] statutes" (Art 174 § 2).

DSSUI's work over the past year has not revealed any evidence of financial mismanagement or inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature, but at the same time issues and areas requiring urgent attention have been highlighted. Weaknesses were identified in relation to and in management procedures, with negative effects on team spirit and staff morale. "In recent years we have seen a significant increase in the needs of the many people Caritas assists, and it is imperative that Caritas Internationalis is well prepared to meet these challenges," said Cardinal Michael Czerny S . J ., Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development.

Pope Francis invites us to consider "the mission that Caritas is called to carry out in the Church..." .... Charity is not a sterile benefit or a mere gift to be donated to ease our consciences. What we must never forget is that charity has its origin and essence in God himself (cf. Jn 4:8); charity is the embrace of God, our Father, to every person, especially the least and the suffering, who occupy a preferential place in his heart" (May 27, 2019). His words inspire all those involved to ensure that CI lives up to its mission.

 Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, with its headquarters in Vatican City State.

The authorAntonino Piccione

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