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Briefing by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, on the 22nd meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father Francis, 13.12.2017

At 13.00 this afternoon, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, gave a briefing on the 22nd meeting of the Council of Cardinal with the Holy Father Francis.

The Council of Cardinals met for three days: Monday 11, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 December. All the members of the Council were present, except His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, and His Eminence Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, who arrived on Monday evening on account of the cancellation of his flight due to bad weather.

The Holy Father was present at all the meetings, except for this morning’s, owing to the General Audience.

The meeting yesterday afternoon was shorter than expected to allow the Cardinals to participate in the Mass presided at by the Pope for the liturgical celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

The working sessions took place in the morning from 9.00 to 12.30 and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.00, and were partly dedicated to reflecting on the Curia as an instrument for evangelization and service for the Pope and for the local churches.

In addition, the Cardinals further examined issues concerning four dicasteries: for the Clergy, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for Catholic Education and for Culture.

A significant part of the work was dedicated to the reports presented by the Superiors of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life; of the Secretariat for Communication and of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Department for the Promoting Integral Human Development.

His Eminence Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, presented the new dicastery, established on 1 September 2016, with special emphasis on the dicastery’s relationship with young people.

Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, presented the last part of the path of reform. The organization of the dicastery and of the different departments was presented, from which the organic table of the new dicastery will be drawn up and submitted for the approval of the Secretary of State. Furthermore, returning to the project presented at the beginning of the process of the reform of the Vatican media, it was shown how the works have been respected so far in terms of the timeline, the reduction of personnel (as far as possible) and the reduction of costs. The new multimedia production process and the new portal, which will be presented in the next days in Beta version and which does not constitute the reform itself, but is certainly a first visible and concrete expression, was then illustrated. The new logos were then presented, showing unity in difference.

It was reiterated that the Secretariat for Communication is not an office but a dicastery of the Holy See, and matters related to economic and administrative aspects have also been addressed. Lastly, it was confirmed that as of 1 January 2018, the group of the Vatican Press, which includes L'Osservatore Romano and the Vatican Photographic Service, will become part of the SPC.

The Cardinals then heard Fr. M. Czerny, S.J. and Fr. Fabio Baggio, C.C., the two under-secretaries of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Department for the Promoting Integral Human Development. Fr. Czerny and P. Baggio explained the process of organizing the Section ad tempus under the guidance of the Holy Father. The staff now has 21 full-time staff and volunteers. All the activities promoted in 2017 are the emanation of its mission within the dicastery, which consists of assisting local Churches in the design and implementation of an effective pastoral response adapted to the challenges of the contemporary world with regard to migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking. Its main activities include the collection and codification of information on migration issues directly from source, the implementation of various social media campaigns to promote a positive narrative about migrants and refugees, the production of a document (20 Action Points) in view of the Global Compacts on migrants and refugees in 2018 and the development of a global strategy with the main Catholic actors (Secretariat of State, Episcopal Conferences, Catholic NGOs and religious congregations), and direct assistance to some episcopal conferences.

His Eminence Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley updated the other members of the Council regarding the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, especially regarding the task of assisting local Churches.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place on 26, 27 and 28 February 2018.