Tagle grateful for opportunities to lead Caritas Internationalis

“WE, as human and Christian communities, are all to love and serve.”

These were the words of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle after leaving his post as president of Caritas Internationalis, the largest network of Catholic charities in the world, for two terms.

Caritas Internationalis is a network of 162 relief, development, and social service organizations functioning in more than 200 nations and territories worldwide. It is also regarded as the second-largest humanitarian aid organization in the world after the Red Cross.

Tagle spoke in front of around 400 delegates from different parts of the world during the confederation’s 22nd general assembly on May 11 to 16, 2023 in Rome, as they elect a new leader of Catholic Church’s social arm.

He shared the lessons he learned after supervising Caritas Internationalis for seven and a half years, a post that was supposed to enhance his chances to become the next pope.

“This coming together is really an event of a family. A family coming together, brought together by our common faith, common hope, and common love service,” he said Thursday, May 11, during the opening of the general assembly.

He also expressed his gratefulness to the administrators and the rest of members of the confederation for joining him in his duties in the past years.

Tagle’s successor, Japanese Archbishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi, was chosen by Caritas Internationalis’s 22nd General Assembly on Saturday, May 13.

Kikuchi is the second Asian inducted as the president of Caritas Internationalis. Tagle was the first Filipino and first Asian president of the confederation since it was founded in 1951.

Tagle had served as the organization’s president since May 2015 and was reelected to that role in May 2019.

But Pope Francis deposed Tagle and the rest of the organization’s leaders in November 2022 due to management issues that were allegedly the fault of Aloysius John, the organization’s former secretary-general.

In a papal decree dated November 2022, Pier Francesco Pinelli was appointed temporary head of Caritas, with Tagle serving as his assistant, an indication that the Filipino cardinal continues to have the Pope’s trust and was most likely involved in the revision’s decision-making process. (KJF)