VATICAN CITY, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Pope Francis sacked the entire leadership of the Roman Catholic Church’s global charitable arm on Tuesday following accusations of intimidation and humiliation of employees, and appointed a commissioner to lead it.

The surprise decision involved leaders of Caritas Internationalis (CI), a Vatican-based confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations working in more than 200 countries.

The executive-level sackings of CI, which has more than a million staff and volunteers worldwide, were announced in a papal decree released by the Vatican press office.

A separate statement from the Vatican’s development department, which oversees CI, said a review of the work environment this year by outside management and psychology experts revealed malaise and poor management practices at its headquarters. .

Current and former employees have told Reuters of instances of verbal abuse, favoritism and general mismanagement of human resources which led to some staff leaving. CI is based in a building belonging to the Vatican in Rome.

“No evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety, but other important themes and areas needing urgent attention emerged from the panel’s work,” the development office statement said.

“Real shortcomings were found in management and procedures, seriously damaging team spirit and staff morale,” he said.

He said that while “financial matters were well managed and fundraising targets consistently met”, management standards and procedures needed to be improved.

A CI spokesperson referred all questions to the statement.

Among those affected by the decree was Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was nominally president of Caritas but not involved in day-to-day operations. His main job in the Vatican is leading the missionary arm of the Church.

The office of president is traditionally held by a cardinal.

Tagle, a Filipino who is often seen as a possible future pope, will step down as president but stay on in a new role to help the commissioner maintain relations with national Caritas offices and prepare for the election of a new leadership. next year.

Two current Caritas insiders and a former staff member, all of whom spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the executive order targeted the management practices of the office of the outgoing general secretary and the board.

The former staff member said employees quit their jobs at headquarters due to an atmosphere of intimidation, fear and “ritual humiliation”.

Apart from Tagle and a priest, all members of the CI executive were lay people.

(This story has been corrected to say departures were in Rome, not outside Italy in paragraph 14)

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Nick Macfie and Bill Berkrot

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