Pope creates new dicastery on laity, family and life

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Pope Francis talks to Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary before the start of the Synod’s afternoon session on Thursday. Also in the photo is Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila. (Photo: Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

VATICAN, Oct. 23, 2015— After widespread discussion, Pope Francis has announced the creation of a new office for laity, family and life in the Roman Curia.

As part of the Pope’s ongoing reform in the Curia, the new Dicastery combines three separate offices into one to give greater attention to issues relating to the laity.

The pontiff made the announcement on Thursday during the evening of the family Synod at the Vatican.

Streamlining the Curia

“I have decided to establish a new Dicastery with competency for Laity, Family and Life, that will replace the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Pontifical Academy for Life will be joined to the new Dicastery,” Pope Francs said.

“To this end – he continued – I have constituted a special commission that will prepare a text delineating canonically the competencies of the new Dicastery. The text will be presented for discussion to the Council of Cardinals at their next meeting in December,” he said.

Pope Francis’ decision has been widely anticipated since early last month following the recommendation of the council of nine cardinals, which he established in April 2013, to advise him on the reform of the Curia.

Discussions are also ongoing over a proposal to create a new department on charity, justice, and peace— streamlining the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Migrants, Cor Unum, and Health Care into one.

Council recommendations

In May 2015, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was elected president of Caritas Internationalis, the global confederation of over 160 national Catholic charities.

Two months later, the Pope appointed the Manila archbishop as member of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the dispenser of charity in behalf of the Pope.

The Council has been without a President since late 2014 after Cardinal Robert Sarah was named prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

How Pope Francis will decide and implement the council’s recommendations remains to be seen. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)

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