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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."
Its functions were shifted to the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life on 1 September 2016.
The Council "worked for a deeper understanding of the Church’s teaching"; "encouraged studies in the spirituality of marriage and the family";worked "to ensure the accurate recognition of the human and social conditions of the family institution everywhere"; and "strove to ensure that the rights of the family be acknowledged and defended even in the social and political realm" and "supported and coordinated initiatives to protect human life from the first moment of conception and to encourage responsible procreation." More particularly, the Council "promoted and coordinated pastoral efforts related to the issue of responsible procreation, and encouraged, sustained and coordinated initiatives in defense of human life in all stages of its existence, from conception to natural death."
Among the significant documents issued by the Council were The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (1995) providing guidelines for education within the family; Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life (1997) reaffirming the illicit nature of contraceptive acts; and Declaration on the Decrease of Fertility in the World (1998) about declining demographic trends.
The Council's last President was Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. In addition to its advisory board of Bishops, members of the Council included laypeople, especially married laypeople "from all over the world."
The Council published the quarterly review Familia et Vita starting in 1994. It organized the World Meetings of Families, convened in Rome, Italy in 1994, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1997, Rome again in 2000, Manila, Philippines in 2003, Valencia, Spain, in 2006, Mexico City, Mexico in 2009, Milan, Italy in 2012, and Philadelphia, United States in 2015.
The Council was based in Palazzo San Callisto, Piazza San Callisto, Rome.
On 6 June 2006, the Council published a document entitled "Family and Human Procreation"noting that "Never before has the natural institution of marriage and the family been the victim of such violent attacks."
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.
Apostolicam Actuositatem is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. It was approved by a vote of 2,340 to 2 of bishops assembled at the Council, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 18 November 1965. The title is Latin for "Apostolic Activity", which is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with significant Catholic documents. The purpose of the document was to encourage and guide lay Catholics in their Christian service. In this decree the Council sought to describe the nature, character, and diversity of the lay apostolate, to state its basic principles, and to give pastoral directives for its more effective exercise. The specific objectives of lay ministry are: evangelization and sanctification, renewal of the temporal order whereby Christ is first in all things, and charitable works and social aid. The decree quotes Colossians 3:17: "Whatever you do in word or work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".
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.
An apostolic constitution is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church received from Roman law.
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 Prefecture of the Papal Household is the office in charge of the Papal Household, a section of the Roman Curia that comprises the Papal Chapel and the Papal Family.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace was a dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to "action-oriented studies" for the international promotion of justice, peace, and human rights from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church. To this end, it cooperates with various religious institutes and advocacy groups, as well as scholarly, ecumenical, and international organizations.
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.
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".
The John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences is a Roman Catholic pontifical institute of theological studies on marriage and family with affiliated campuses around the world.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications was a dicastery of the Roman Curia that was suppressed in March 2016 and merged into the Secretariat for Communications.
The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America is a satellite session of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. Prior to September 2017, it was a satellite session of the central session at the Lateran University in Rome. The Institute is devoted to the study of the truth about the human person in all of its dimensions: theological, philosophical, anthropological, and cosmological-scientific. The Institute views that it centers its study of the person in the community that is the original cell of human society: marriage and family. Other satellites include Mexico, Spain, and Chile. The one in Mexico and Chile offers a bachelor's degree in Family Science
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 Palazzo San Callisto is a small palace in Rome and one of the extraterritorial Properties of the Holy See. The original Palazzo is located in the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, the later extensions have their entrance in Piazza di San Callisto. The entire complex is one of the areas of the Holy See regulated by the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed with the Kingdom of Italy. As such it has extraterritorial status.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, also translated as Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI at vespers on 28 June 2010, eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, to carry out the New Evangelization. The Pope said that "the process of secularisation has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church", and the new pontifical council would "promote a renewed evangelisation" in countries where the Church has long existed "but which are living a progressive secularisation of society and a sort of 'eclipse of the sense of God'."
Pontificalis Domus was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
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 Council of Cardinals (C9), also known as the Council of Cardinal Advisers, is a group of cardinals of the Catholic Church appointed by Pope Francis to serve as his advisers. Announced on 13 April 2013, one month after his election, it was formally established on 28 September of the same year. The council currently has seven members, following the decision by Pope Francis to remove three of its members in late 2018 and the appointment of another in 2020.
The World Meeting of Families is a gathering of the Roman Catholic Church that has occurred every three years since 1994. It is organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which "promotes 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." It is the biggest gathering of Catholic families in the world. The most recent meeting took place in Dublin and the next meeting is scheduled to take place in Rome, Italy in 2022.
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."