In his letter, Roy warns that “the confederation is in danger of becoming a mere platform subject to decisions from above and not from its members.”
He writes that “there is no doubt” that “those in charge” of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development are responsible for trying to centralize control over Caritas. He adds: “The fact that the decision taken cannot be questioned because it is subject to a decree of the Holy Father cannot hide where it comes from.”
Electing new leaders
The General Secretariat of Caritas Internationalis is based in Vatican City. From there, the organization’s leadership “coordinates emergency response, policy and advocacy, communications, international representation, and capacity building,” according to Caritas’ website.
National Caritas organizations are linked to their bishops’ conferences. Every four years, representatives from these organizations gather for a general assembly in Vatican City to elect a president, vice presidents, secretary general, and treasurer. The last assembly was in 2019.
Possible successors to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was removed as Caritas president in November, include Cardinal Soane Patita Patita Paini Mafi, archbishop of Tonga; Archbishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo; the Maronite archbishop of Tripoli (Lebanon) Joseph Soueif, who was a candidate for the presidency of Caritas in 2015; and Monsignor Gabriel Hatti, president of the Middle East and North Africa office.
Candidates for general secretary include Cristina Calvo, consultant to Caritas America Latina, and Alistair Dutton, executive director of Caritas Scotland and former humanitarian director of Caritas Internationalis.
CNA contacted Caritas Internationalis for comment about its former leaders’ criticisms Wednesday but did not receive a response before publication.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Caritas said it has spent the past six months on a “journey of renewal and communion” in response to Pope Francis’ call for reform.
“We are preparing for [the general assembly] to be a time of joyful encounter, of sincere dialogue and mutual listening, aimed at building together the future path of fraternal cooperation, at the service of the poor and the most vulnerable,” the statement said.
Andrea Gagliarducci is an Italian journalist for Catholic News Agency and Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He is a contributor to the National Catholic Register.