Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I aim to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
📜 Today’s readings: Rv 15:1-4 ▪ Ps 98:1, 2-3AB, 7-8, 9 ▪ Lk 21:12-19.
🗞 Starting seven
1: At today’s general audience, Pope Francis explained the difference between true and false spiritual consolation, and asked for prayers for Ukrainians “suffering the martyrdom of aggression” (English text, video, photos).
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Appointment of Bishop Richard G. Henning, auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, as coadjutor bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, with right of succession (Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence turns 75 on April 1, 2023). Resignation of 75-year-old Bishop Robert C. Evans, auxiliary bishop of Providence, accepted.
Papal audiences for Bishop Kyrillos, Coptic co-chairman of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches; Joseph Mar Barnabas, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church; Scalabrini International Migration Network group from Canada.
🧐 Look closer
Why now? The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which oversees Caritas Internationalis, said that a review of the organization’s “workplace environment” found “real deficiencies” in “management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team spirit and staff morale.”
AP’s Nicole Winfield reported that a former Caritas employee who cooperated with reviewers “recounted instances of bullying and incompetence” under its secretary general Aloysius John. These related especially to the fallout from an abuse scandal involving a previous national director of Caritas Central African Republic. John did not respond to an AP email seeking comment.
Current and former staffers told Reuters “of cases of verbal abuse, favoritism, and general human resources mismanagement that had led some staff to leave.”
“Two current Caritas insiders and one former staffer, all of whom spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said the decree was aimed at the management practices by the office of the outgoing secretary general and the board,” reported Philip Pullella. “The former staffer said employees had left jobs at the headquarters because of a climate of bullying, fear and ‘ritual humiliation.’”
“Tagle was rumored to be appointed the next prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops. Even if these rumors were to be confirmed, Tagle’s public image has now been compromised by the Caritas decision. This will also weigh in a future conclave,” he wrote.
The Tablet’s Rome correspondent Christopher Lamb said the decree was “hardly a vote of confidence” in Cardinal Tagle’s leadership.
Reuters noted that the Filipino cardinal “was not involved in the day-to-day operations” and would “remain in a new role to help the commissioner keep up relations with national Caritas offices and prepare for election of a new leadership next year.”
The changes could also affect members of the Caritas Internationalis network, including front-line aid groups such as Caritas Ukraine. But the Vatican’s human development dicastery insisted there would be “no impact on the functioning of member organizations and the services of charity and solidarity they provide around the world; on the contrary, it will serve to strengthen such service.”
What’s next? Caritas Internationalis members will attend a general assembly in Vatican City in May 2023 where they will elect a new president, vice presidents, secretary general, and treasurer.
🔍 Stories to watch
🇺🇦 Ukraine’s Latin and Greek Catholic bishops have begun their annual joint retreat before Advent (Ukrainian report).
🇬🇭 A bishop has urged traditional leaders in Ghana to oppose the exploitation of local iron ore deposits.
🇯🇵 Researchers have discovered a 17th-century letter from Japanese Catholics to the pope.
📅 Coming soon
Nov. 27 First Sunday of Advent.
Nov. 30 Feast of St. Andrew.
Dec. 3 Vatican Christmas tree and Nativity scene unveiled.
Dec. 4 First anniversary of Hong Kong Bishop Stephen Chow’s episcopal ordination.
Dec. 5 “Fruits of the Spirit” exhibit launched at London’s National Gallery.
Dec. 7 Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington turns 75.
Have a happy feast of Bl. Miguel Pro, St. Columban, and St. Clement I.
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