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Vatican cardinal urges Caritas officials to accept papal reforms

May 12, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Michael Czerny, the prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, encouraged Caritas International delegates to accept the decision by Pope Francis to remove the group’s top leadership.

“I am sure that all of you were surprised and disturbed by this,” Cardinal Czerny said in a May 12 address to the delegates, who will select new leaders this week to replace the interim administrators appointed by the Pontiff. The cardinal said that the abrupt dismissal of leaders should be understood as “an act of love and care, not a denunciation.”

In replacing the leaders of the international consortium— which includes Catholic charitable groups from around the world— the Vatican did not cite any specific wrongdoing, but said the move was necessary because of administrative problems. This week Aloysius John, the ousted president of Caritas International, described the sudden move as a “brutal power grab,” and said that the Vatican’s rejection of the group’s elected leadership reflected a “colonialist” approach to international development issues.

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