Pope Francis fired some of the leadership of the Vatican’s international charitable organization Caritas Internationalis on Tuesday following the findings of an external review.
The Vatican reportedly said in a statement that the review did not find proof of sexual indecency or financial misconduct, but it did find other problems.
“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,” a press release noted.
Caritas Internationalis was established in 1951 and is a coalition of 162 charitable groups in 200 nations. Its annual statement reportedly showed that it brought in around 5.1 million euros in 2020 and spent around 4.4 million euros.
“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,” the press release stressed.
The secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John, was removed from his position. The leadership and governance group was also pushed out. Those who serve in governing roles for the charity are elected every four years, and in 2019, John won in a contested vote.
Former and current workers were welcomed to take part in the review. A former worker with Caritas worked with the external review team and said that he reported bullying and situations of incompetence while working for John, according to the Associated Press.
Pier Francesco Pinelli has been appointed as Temporary Administrator of Caritas Internationalis, according to the release. Pinelli worked on the external review and also participated in a 2021 review of the Vatican’s development office, which led to Cardinal Michael Czerny being placed as prefect.
“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,” Cardinal Michael Czerny said in the release.
“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,” he added.