A former Jesuit novice with experience in nonprofits was elected secretary general of the preeminent Vatican charity on Monday, ushering in a new phase for Caritas Internationalis following Pope Francis’ ousting of former leadership over allegations of bullying.
Alistair Dutton, currently managing director of the Scottish branch of Caritas, was previously the humanitarian director for the confederation of 162 national branches which is one of the most visible aid groups worldwide.
During a general meeting in Rome, Caritas representatives elected Dutton as general secretary and chose Kirsty Robertson, head of the Australian branch of Caritas, as his vice president.
They complete the leadership team following the election of Tokyo Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi as president over the weekend.
UKRAINIAN ZELENSKYY VISITS POPE FRANCIS, ITALIAN OFFICIALS IN ROME BEFORE THE TRIP TO GERMANY
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The election was followed closely after Francis’ extraordinary decision in November to fire Caritas Internationalis president, secretary general, vice presidents, treasurer and ecclesiastical assistant after an external investigation found “real shortcomings” in management that had affected the morale of the staff of the Caritas secretariat in Rome.
There was no evidence of financial wrongdoing or sexual misconduct. But former employees described a toxic work environment where staff members were bullied, harassed and humiliated.
In remarks reported by Caritas, Dutton promised to use his new role to push the confederation forward.
“I promise to humbly listen, think carefully, and build bridges,” he said.