Host of Pontifical Councils merge into two congregations
The establishment of two large congregations, to include many tasks formerly divided among several pontifical councils, is expected to be discussed in the meeting of the Council of Cardinals scheduled for December 09 to 11, 2014. The draft of reform was presented to the chiefs of dicasteries in the last of the periodic meetings they have with Pope Francis, which took place on November 24, 2014.
The draft includes the establishment of two congregations – a Congregation for Justice and Peace and a Congregation for Laity and Family. Each of these will be composed of five secretariats, which would include tasks and functions of several existing pontifical councils.
Within the Congregation for Justice and Peace, there would be secretariats for justice and peace in the world, Cor Unum, migrants, health care and life and human ecology; which would take over the functions of the pontifical councils for justice and peace, Cor Unum, pastoral care of migrants and health care as well as the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Congregation for Laity and Family would include secretariats for youth, ecclesial movements, laity, family and women.
Though, the draft of reform has not yet been extensively developed, it is likely that each secretariat would have the function of an office within the congregation, such that laity could head these offices within the dicasteries. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa coordinates the Council of Cardinals.
“At the moment, there are functions that dicasteries have undertaken in the course of the years that are not included in Pastor bonus, the apostolic constitution that regulates functions and offices of the Roman Curia – these functions have not been included in the draft,” sources maintained.
The establishment of these two congregations will be one of the main topics of discussion during the sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, it is expected. During their last meeting, the cardinals had drafted a sketch of an introduction for a new apostolic constitution that should replace Pastor bonus, thus giving a new structure and organization to the Roman curia.
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