Revamp of Church humanitarian arm for 'greater good': Caritas PH

By Ferdinand Patinio

November 24, 2022, 5:43 pm

<p>Caritas Philippines president Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Caritas Philippines president Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo (File photo)

MANILA – Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) supported the decree issued by Pope Francis to reorganize the Caritas Internationalis (CI).

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines president, said Thursday the decision to reorganize is not about corruption or mismanagement of funds.

“The decree was unexpected and a big surprise but we welcome the decision of the Holy Father 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. But we would like to reiterate that the reorganization is not due to corruption or mismanagement of funds,” he said in a statement.

Pope Francis has appointed Pier Francesco Pinelli as the temporary administrator of Caritas Internationalis. He is a well-known organizational consultant and administrator.

He will be supported by Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar, CI's current head of advocacy, and by Fr Manuel Morujão S.J. for the personal and spiritual accompaniment of the staff.

“The timing was good because most of us are here and the opportunity for realignment of its internal structure and standard operating procedures is needed as we prepare to elect new leadership by May 2023. We assure the public that Caritas around the world, including Caritas Philippines, is aware of what is happening and is in solidarity with CI,” he added.

Fr. Tony Labiao, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, noted that the decision of the Holy Father is connected with the general assembly next year.

"We would like to stress that the move of the Holy Father to declare all CI management positions vacant was in view of the 2023 general assembly and that the structure of CI is still intact. As members of the representative council from the seven regions, we are tasked to review the statutes and proposals for improvements of CI and the confederation,” Labiao said.

The CI will hold the next regular in-person general assembly of its member organizations, including the election of the president, general secretary, and 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 Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who will particularly liaise with the local churches and the member organizations of CI.

Caritas Philippines represents the country in CI, 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. (PNA)