Caritas Philippines welcomed the reorganization of its umbrella organization, Caritas internationalis, to better serve its member charities around the world.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of Caritas Philippines, said Pope Francis’ move was “unexpected,” but was a welcome decision “with the hope that Caritas would truly be faithful to its identity and mandate.”
“We believe it is for the good of Caritas and its people,” said Bishop Bagaforo in a report on CBCP News. The prelate reiterated that the reorganization “is not due to corruption or mismanagement of funds.”
In a decree released on November 22, the pope placed the entire organization under a temporary leadership after a review by an independent panel found management and morale lapses at its head office in Rome.
A Vatican statement said the review found no evidence of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety, but said other issues emerged, with “real deficiencies” found in management, “seriously prejudicing team spirit and staff morale.”
To lead the overhaul, the pope appointed Italian layman Pier Francesco Pinelli, a known business management consultant who had participated in the external review.
He will be assisted by Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar, Caritas’ current Head of Advocacy, and Jesuit Fr. Manuel Morujão, who will help in the “personal and spiritual accompaniment of the employees.”
The decree, which was read by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, former president of Caritas Internationalis, was announced during a meeting of about 100 Caritas representatives from around the world early this week.
Cardinal Tagle, head of the Vatican’s evangelization department, will remain with the temporary administrators to oversee improved management policies and to prepare for the election of new officers in May 2023.
“The timing was good because of the opportunity for realignment of [Caritas’] internal structure and standard operating procedures,” said Bishop Bagaforo in the CBCP News report.
“We assure the public that Caritas around the world, including Caritas Philippines, is aware of what is happening and are in solidarity with [Caritas Internationalis],” he added.
Father Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said “the move of the Holy Father to declare all [Caritas Internationalis] management positions vacant was in view of the 2023 general assembly, and that the structure of [the organization] is still intact.”