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Vatican blocks Caritas official re-election bid

Vatican officials have refused to grant a “nihil obstat” to Caritas Internationalis secretary-general Lesley-Anne Knight.

  • International
  • February 21, 2011
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Vatican officials have refused to grant a “nihil obstat” to current Caritas Internationalis secretary-general Lesley-Anne Knight preventing her from seeking a second four-year term.

Knight, a British citizen born in Zimbabwe, did not receive the necessary approval, or “nihil obstat” in January when she submitted her name as a candidate to continue in the position, The Tablet reports.

No specific reason for the denial was offered by the Vatican in a statement released late Feb. 18 in Rome.

“The Holy See wants a change in the way it works with Caritas and says this requires a change in the person of the secretary-general,” the statement said.

“The Holy See has therefore not granted Mrs. Knight the nihil obstat to seek another mandate,” the statement said.

The Vatican acknowledged “the professional work done and achievements of Mrs. Knight” but said nothing more.

The Caritas Internationalis bureau – Cardinal Rodriguez, Knight, the organization’s treasurer and seven regional presidents – met Feb. 5 and asked Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, to discuss the issue, according to the statement, but the initial decision remained unchanged.

“The bureau deeply regrets the decision of the Holy See,” the Vatican statement added. “The bureau thanks Mrs. Knight for the professional work, her accomplishments and commitment to Caritas Internationalis. The bureau is very grateful she will continue until the general assembly.”

The Tablet cited an unidentified Caritas agency officials as suggesting Knight may have been rejected because she had made comments that were “critical of the Vatican machine” and had not done enough to instill a Catholic identity” in the organization.


Vatican blocks re-election of Caritas Internationalis chief (The Tablet)

Caritas Internationalis secretary-general denied second term by Vatican (Catholic News Service)

Vatican blocks re-election of Caritas chief (The Tablet)


Caritas International

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