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Briefing on the seventeenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, 14.12.2016

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, held a briefing early this afternoon on the seventeenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father.

“The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father on three days: Monday 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December”, he explained. “All the members participated in the meetings, most of which the Pope attended. On Wednesday morning he was absent due to the general audience, as usual”.

“Most of the consultations were again dedicated to the examination of the different dicasteries of the Curia, in view of the new Apostolic Constitution. In particular, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

The missionary impulse and synodality were considered the two guidelines for reform of the dicasteries.

The cardinals completed their study of the other dicasteries (Doctrine of the Faith, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Causes of Saints and Promoting Christian Unity), and submitted their definitive proposals to the Holy Father.

The projects for the new dicasteries took up a considerable amount of time. Cardinal Kevin Farrell spoke about the dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, of which he is prefect. The debate centred on the role of the laity, with an invitation to all to reread the letter of Pope Francis to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (19.III.2016 Cfr

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson presented the plan for the dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, which unites four offices: Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Health Care Workers, and Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. Cardinal Turkson was accompanied by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, who explained the new dicastery as the implementation of the Council Constitution Gaudium et Spes.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented the latest activities of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which he chairs, while Cardinal George Pell reported on the most recent developments regarding the Secretariat for the Economy, entrusted to him.

This afternoon, Msgr. Dario E. Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, will present the progress made and the steps yet to be taken for the reform of the Holy See communications, with particular attention to the formation of staff.

The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for the days 13, 14 and 15 February 2017.