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Caritas Australia not impacted by Internationalis leadership spill

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Archbishop Mark Coleridge blesses the Caritas offices in Mascot, Sydney, on 22 November. Photo: Jared Weedon

Caritas Australia’s development and humanitarian work will not be impacted by Pope Francis’ dismissal of the Vatican-based leadership of Caritas Internationalis, the CEO of Caritas Australia has said.

The Holy Father issued a decree on 22 November that sacked Caritas Internationalis’ senior leadership, and relieved President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of his office.

Italian management consultant Pier Francesco Pinelli has been appointed as temporary administrator.

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The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development commissioned Mr Pinelli and two psychologists to review Caritas Internationalis’ workplace environment earlier this year.

“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 Dicastery said in a statement on 22 November.

“Real deficiencies were noted in management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team-spirit and staff morale.”

The administrators will run Caritas until the election of a new executive at the May 2023 Caritas Internationalis general assembly.

Caritas Australia is an independently governed member of the Caritas Internationalis confederation of 162 organisations.

It has an independent Board of Directors and governance structure and said in a 23 November statement that its “development and humanitarian work will not be impacted by these changes. The vital work that we do with vulnerable communities will continue without change or disruption.”

“The wellbeing of the staff of any organisation, including Caritas Internationalis is of the highest priority. Our Mission and work remain unchanged – to serve communities who are marginalised and vulnerable, partnering with them to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity,” said Kirsty Robertson, Caritas Australia’s CEO.

Caritas Australia recently appointed the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, to its board.

His tenure began with the blessing of Caritas’ new offices in Mascot, Sydney on 22 November.

“I am delighted to be welcomed onto the Caritas Australia Board,” said Archbishop Coleridge.

“Project Compassion has always been close to my heart, and I’ve always appreciated the way that Caritas Australia helps to unite our Church community through our shared faith, and to strengthen our connection with dioceses, parishes and schools across the country.”

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