The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life is a dicastery of the Roman Curia. Pope Francis announced its creation on 15 August 2016, effective 1 September 2016. It took over the functions and responsibilities of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. It has responsibility "for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God's plan and for the protection and support of human life."
Pope Francis had announced that he intended to establish the new dicastery and replace two existing pontifical councils at the Synod of Bishops on the Family on 22 October 2015. The Council of Cardinals that he formed in April 2013 to advise him on the reform of the Roman curia had discussed the idea extensively and recommended it following a study by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop emeritus of Milan.
The statutes governing this new body had been approved on 4 June 2016.A revised statue was published on 8 May 2018, effective 13 May. It added to its mission promoting "ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation"; specified at least two undersecretaries and no longer required organization into three divisions; and both developing "guidelines for training programs for engaged couples preparing for marriage, and for young married couples" and guiding the care of couples in unorthodox marital situations.
As its first Prefect, Francis named Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Texas,whom Francis telephoned in May to propose his appointment before Farrell accepted it in June. He also appointed Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the soon to be abolished Pontifical Council for the Family, to head the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which are academic centers associated with the new dicastery. Pope Francis instructed Paglia that the institutes' work should be "ever more clearly inscribed within the horizon of mercy" and that "in theological study, a pastoral perspective and attention to the wounds of humanity should never be missing".
In 31 May 2017, Pope Francis named Schoenstatt Father Alexandre Awi Mello the Dicastery's Secretary.On 7 November he appointed Gabriella Gambino Sub-Secretary of the section on life and Linda Ghisoni Sub-Secretary of the section on laity. Both academics and laywomen, they became the highest ranking in the Vatican.
In May 2018, Pope Francis updated the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, adding among other things a specific reference to the office's responsibility for promoting a deeper reflection on the role of women in the church and society.
In April 2020, the dicastery issued a letter calling attention to the plight of the elderly, especially during the coronavirus emergency.While recognizing the necessity of appropriate health precautions, the letter mentioned alternate methods to address feelings of loneliness and abandonment. "The inability to continue making home visits has led to finding new and creative forms of presence. Calls, video or voice messages or, more traditionally, letters addressed to those who are alone. Parishes are often engaged in the delivery of food and medicines to those who are forced not to leave the house."
On 11 June 2021, the dicastery issued new norms which impose term limits for leaders of international associations of the faithful. The leaders' terms are limited to a maximum of five years, with an international leader able to serve two consecutive terms, after which he will need to vacate the office for at least one term before being eligible to serve again. The norms take effect on 11 September.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia, seated at the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.
A dicastery is a department of the Roman Curia, the administration of the Holy See through which the pope directs the Roman Catholic Church. The most recent comprehensive constitution of the church, Pastor bonus (1988), includes this definition:
By the word "dicasteries" are understood the Secretariat of State, Congregations, Tribunals, Councils and Offices, namely, the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
The lay apostolate is made up of laypersons, who are neither consecrated religious nor in Holy Orders, who exercise a ministry within the Catholic Church. Lay apostolate organizations operate under the general oversight of pastors and bishops, but need not be dependent upon them for direction.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development was a dicastery of the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church from 1971 to 2016.
The Pontifical Council for the Family was part of the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church from 1981 to 2016. It was established by Pope John Paul II on 9 May 1981 with his motu proprio Familia a Deo Instituta, replacing the Committee for the Family that Pope Paul VI had established in 1973. The Council fostered "the pastoral care of families, protects their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society, so that they may ever be more able to fulfill their duties."
Jean Clément Marie Gérard Joseph Françoise Georges Laffitte is a French prelate of the Catholic Church. A bishop since 2009, he has had an academic career and served in several positions in the Roman Curia. He has been Prelate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 4 July 2015.
In the Catholic Church, an association of the Christian faithful or simply association of the faithful is a group of baptized persons, clerics or laity or both together, who, according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, jointly foster a more perfect life or promote public worship or Christian teaching, or who devote themselves to other works of the apostolate.
Vincenzo Paglia is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. He was President of the Pontifical Council for the Family from 2012 to 2016 and Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, from 2000 to 2012. He was a co-founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio in 1968.
A pontifical council is a mid-sized department or dicastery of the Roman Curia, the central organization responsible for assisting the pope in the governance and oversight of Catholic Church. Such a council has a cardinal or archbishop as its president and is restricted in its activities in comparison with the larger parts of the Curia.
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".
Kevin Joseph Farrell KGCHS is an Irish-American prelate and a cardinal of the Catholic Church. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he was a former member of the Legion of Christ, and served as the seventh Bishop of Dallas, as well as the chancellor of the University of Dallas. On September 1, 2016, he was appointed the prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. He was created a cardinal on November 19, 2016, by Pope Francis.
Brian Farrell, LC, is an Irish prelate of the Catholic Church. He was named a bishop and the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in December 2002.
Stanisław Marian Ryłko is a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He held positions in the Roman Curia beginning in 1987 and was president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity from 2003 to 2016. He was made a cardinal in 2007. He has been Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore since 28 December 2016.
The Pontifical Academy for Life or Pontificia Accademia per la Vita is a Pontifical Academy of the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to promoting the Church's consistent life ethic. It also does related research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity was a unit of the Roman Catholic Curia from 1967 to 2016. It had the responsibility of assisting the Pope in his dealings with the laity in lay ecclesial movements or individually, and their contributions to the Church. Its last Cardinal President from 4 October 2003 to 31 August 2016 was Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko. Its undersecretary from 1967 to 1976 was Professor Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to be the Undersecretary of a Pontifical Council and the highest-ranking woman in the Roman Curia at the time. Another layman, Professor Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, was undersecretary from 1991 to 2011.
Catholic laity are the ordinary members of the Catholic Church who are neither clergy nor recipients of Holy Orders or vowed to life in a religious order or congregation. Their mission, according to the Second Vatican Council, is to "sanctify the world".
The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, popularly referred to as the Synod on the Family, took place from 4 to 25 October 2015 with the theme of "the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world." It was "reflect[ing] further on the points discussed" at the 2014 Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops "so as to formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines" for the pastoral care of the person and the family. The 2014 assembly of the synod, called to define the status quaestionis and to collect the participants' experiences and proposals, can be understood as a preparation for the 2015 assembly, but they are meant to "form a single organic unity." It took place in the Synod Hall in the Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City.
The Dicastery for Communication is a division (dicastery) of the Roman Curia with authority over all communication offices of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. Its various offices can be accessed through its website. These are the Pope's website and other offices such as Vatican News on internet, the Holy See Press Office, L'Osservatore Romano, Photograph Service, Vatican Radio, Vatican Press, and the Vatican Publishing House. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has been subsumed into this new Dicastery.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is a dicastery of the Roman curia.