Pope Francis has fired the entire leadership of Caritas, the Catholic Church’s worldwide charity arm, and appointed a commissioner to run it until a new set of officers gets elected.
The move announced in a papal decree saw the removal of the executives of Caritas Internationalis (CI), made of 162 Catholic relief, development and social services organizations working in more than 200 countries.
Pope Francis designated Dr Pier Francesco Pinelli as Temporary Administrator (Commissario straordinario in the original Decree) of Caritas Internationalis in a Decree issued on Tuesday, November 22.
The Decree also designates Dr. Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar and Rev. P. Manuel Morujo, S.J. as Dr. Pinelli’s assistants “for the personal and spiritual accompaniment of the employees.”
Furthermore, the decree states that those serving as President, Vice-Presidents, General Secretary, Treasurer, and Ecclesiastical Assistant “shall cease from their respective offices”; and that Cardinal Tagle, who has previously served as President of Caritas Internationalis, will assist Dr Pinelli in the duties entrusted to him.
The Vatican said in a Reuters report that there is an ongoing review of the workplace environment this year by external management. Psychological experts also found malaise and bad management practices at its headquarters.
Some staff told Reuters that verbal abuse, favoritism, and general human resources mismanagement exist in the organization.
“No evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety, but other important themes and areas for urgent attention emerged from the panel’s work,” the Vatican said.
“Real deficiencies were noted in management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team spirit and staff morale,” it added.
Among those affected by the decree was Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who is nominally the president of Caritas but he is not involved in the charity arm’s operations.
The president’s position is traditionally held by a cardinal.