May 29, 2011

Caritas Internationalis completed its 19th GA in Rome

Caritas internationalis has just completed its 19th General Assembly in Rome and started its new 4 year period with a new set of executive committee with a new secretary general while re-electing Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB as its president.  The assembly started in Domus Mariae in Rome on 22 May with Holy Eucharist celebrated solemnly by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State.  It was attended by more than 300 participants from all over the world including around 40 bishops.  Caritas Japan was represented by Fr. Daisuke Narui, SVD and I also participated as the in-coming President of Caritas Asia.

Though there must have been well-founded reason existing on the side of the Holy See, however, it seems to me that good intent of not to hurt anyone in public of all parties involved made the "nihil obstat" story took on a life of its own.  It was the GA with ostensive presence of Holy See among the participants this time compare with my previous experiences of 3 GA in 1999, 2003 and 2007.  It was, honestly, quite strange to meet Fr.Timothy Radcliffe OP among the participants who shared no specific role to play even though he had prepared a talk beforehand, so I heard.  Fr. Cantalamessa's talk was deep in spirituality and Cardinal Peter Turkson's talk was inspiring but I had hard time to connect these talks with the main theme of the GA which was "One Human Family, Zero poverty".   The president of Cor Unum, Cardinal Sarah's talk was quite in the context of Caritas activities and gave us quite an insight.   I do understood that the presence of the Holy See was needed to deepen the dialogue between Holy See and the Caritas in order to finalise the new text for its Statutes and Internal Rules which have to conform with the the public canonical legal status granted by Blessed Pope JPII in 2004.  Catholic identity was at stake, so I was told by speakers and there exists need to deepen theology of Caritas.  Sounds quite familiar in Japan.  In many Catholic institutions, Catholic identity is at stake for quite sometime and we have been struggling to find an answer for it.  Revised texts were not satisfactory reflecting these thoughts yet and, thus, were not presented for voting.  The new team of Executives will work closely with the Secretariat of State to come with much more deepened texts soon.  Already, the new bureau (the president and 7 regional presidents) have met with the officials of the Secretariat of States on Saturday morning to begin the dialogue in cordial atmosphere.

The 19th General Assembly re-elected H.E. Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB, as its president for the second term, Mr. Juerg Krummenacher as its treasurer, and Mr. Michel Roy as its new Secretary General (Photo below).  Also the GA endorsed the Strategic Framework 2011 to 2015.  The Strategic Framework has 4 objectives which are; "Compassion in action; Promote integral Human Development; A stronger more effective confederation; and Advocacy for a better world."  Also the GA approved the financial framework for next 4years.

All 7 regional presidents were presented for ratification and with the positive votes of the GA, they became the vice presidents of the CI.  They are Fr. Erny Gillen (First Vice President, Europe), Bishop Francisco Silota (Second Vice President, Africa), Bishop Fernando Bargallo (Latin America), Bishop Isao Kikuchi (Asia), Mr. Joseph Farah (MONA), Mr. Michael Casey (North America), and Msgr. Gery Burns (Oceania).   Asia is represented in the Executive Committee by Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

On Friday, 27 at noon, Holy Father received all the participants in private audience.  With this and holy Eucharist celebrated by Cardinal President, we closed the GA with deep sense of unity and more determination to work as witness of love of God.       

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much Bishop, it bring back all memories of the assembly. lovely photos.