September 8, 2016

On Wednesday, Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio creating a new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. 

       The new dicastery will address issues regarding migrants, the needy, sick, excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and of every type of slavery and torture.

       Pope Francis, himself, has stated he will be in charge of the area dedicated to migrants and refugees. 

        With the creation of the dicastery on January 1, 2017, these four Pontifical Councils will cease to exist: the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrantsand Itinerant People and the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care WorkersAll four will be joined under this new dicastery.

       Cardinal Peter Turkson will serve as Prefect of the new dicastery. He is currently President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which is one of thecouncils that will be eliminated on Jan. 1.    

       The pope said ‘the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel,’ so the current successor of St. Peter must ‘continuously adapt the institutions which collaborate with him.’

Help for Ukraine among other nations in Crisis


      It is hoped that this new dicastery will more effectively study tragedies and injustices around the world - bringing them to the attention of the world and perhaps coordinating or at least encouraging assistance for the vulnerable.

       Pope Francis did this for Ukraine. Bringing to the attention of Europe that tragedy of the Russian and pro-Russian bloody conflict still raging in the south-eastern provinces of Ukraine. At the end of April of this year, he asked all Catholic Dioceses and Eparchies in Europe to take up a special collection for the people in Ukraine as it was then estimated that there were some 2 million internal refugees because of the conflict as well as another 3 Million in need of aid. There was a great fear that some 300,000 people would soon begin to starve. More than 10,000 have already died – leaving behind orphaned children and broken families.

       VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To promote Catholic social teaching and ensure appropriate assistance to vulnerable people -- especially victims of war, refugees and the sick -- Pope Francis has established a new office combing the responsibilities of four pontifical councils. 

       In an apostolic letter given "motu proprio" (on his own initiative) and published by the Vatican Aug. 31, the pope said the new dicastery (department) “For Promoting Integral Human Development" will merge the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Migrants and Travelers, and Health Care Ministry. 

The pope named Cardinal Peter Turkson, current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to serve as prefect of the new office, which will begin functioning Jan. 1.

       In his letter signed Aug. 17, the pope said, "This dicastery will be competent particularly in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture."

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