Cebu News

Clergy clarifies: Cardinal Tagle not removed from office

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was not removed, but given more work with Caritas Internationalis as he oversees the transition of the organization to the next directors.

This was the statement of Father Gregory Ramon D.  Gaston in a Radyo Veritas broadcast on November 25, amidst confusion about the news circulating that Tagle got sacked or fired and is being replaced under unfavorable circumstances.

Gaston is the Rector of Rome-based Pontifico Colegio Filipino, which is a college for diocesan priests from the Philippines studying at pontifical universities there.

Gaston said that Tagle “is just doing what many of us in the laity have for so long been asking the Catholic Church hierarchy to do - which is to professionalize and to systematize the way the work of the Church is being done, including its charity works.”

In efforts to improve the management systems and business processes of Caritas Internationalis, Tagle, the President emeritus of Caritas Internationalis, earlier read the Pope's decree to participants at a plenary meeting in Rome: "The Holy Father’s decision came after careful and independent study. There is no question of abuse or financial mismanagement. The work for the poor continues."

As included in Pope Francis’ decree on Caritas Internationalis dated November 22, Cardinal Tagle, as President Emeritus, will continue to represent the organization in working with all the bishops and the 162 member-organizations of Caritas Internationalis, as they prepare for the organization’s scheduled General Assembly to be held on May 2023, when the new set of officers will be elected.

Tagle is now serving his last and final term as President before a new set of officers will be elected next year.

The goal is for the Caritas Internationalis institution to come out of this with a more streamlined, more efficient and much improved organization in time for the new set of leadership team to come in 2023 and continue the work for the years to come.

Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), has earlier expressed support to the decree that Pope Francis has issued to reorganize the Caritas Internationalis.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas Philippines president, said that 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.

Gaston added reorganization was always needed with the goal for the church to serve the faithful better.

Caritas Internationalis has constantly been active in serving the poor and the communities in the 200 countries where they operate.

“This transition comes at excellent timing as his Excellency’s term ends next year. He did not want to simply pass the same old Caritas to his successor, he wanted a well-examined Caritas, for better service, that would be inherited by the next directors,” Gaston added in the said broadcast.

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,” Labiao said.

“I would like to assure you that this is not, this is not, this is not," the Cardinal repeated three times, "about sexual harassment or sexual abuse. This is not about, again, mismanagement of money … the decree clearly stated the intention,” said Tagle as reported in Vatican News.  – GAN (FREEMAN)


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