With the Apostolic Letter Sedula Mater, in the form of Motu Proprio, Pope Francis establishes the Department for Laity, Family, and Life, announces the Vatican Bulletin. Bergoglio appointed Msgr. Kevin Joseph Farrell Prefect of the new organization. Born on September 2, 1947 in Dublin, Ireland, Farrell entered the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1966 and was ordained priest on 24 December 1978. He had been appointed auxiliary bishop of Washington on December 28, 2001 and was ordained on February 11 2002. He has been Vicar General for Administration and Moderator of the Curia (since 2001) and Bishop of Dallas (since 2007).
The new Department – reads Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Sedula Mater (caring Mother), released today – will take duties and functions that hitherto belonged to the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family – which will cease to exist – starting on 1 September. It aims – writes the Pope – to conform the departments of the Roman Curia “to situations of our time”, adapting them “to the needs of the universal Church.” In particular – he said – we want to “provide support and assistance” to lay people, to the institution of the family, and to life, “so they may bear witness to the Gospel in our time and become the expression of the goodness of the Redeemer”.
Here is the full text of the Motu Proprio: “For many centuries, the Church, a caring mother, has had care and respect for the laity, the family, and life, manifesting the love of the merciful Savior for humanity. We keep this in mind because of our Office of Shepherd of the flock of the Lord, are personally committed to promptly arrange everything for the riches of Jesus Christ to properly reach the faithful and be profuse among them.”
“Therefore – the text continues -, we promptly address this question by making the departments of the Roman Curia comply with the conditions of our time and adapt to the needs of the universal Church. In particular, our thoughts go to laity, family, and life, which we want support and help, so they can be an active witness of the Gospel in our time and an expression of the goodness of the Redeemer”.
“Therefore – the text concludes -, after carefully assessing all things, through our apostolic authority we establish the Pontifical Council for Laity, Family, and Life, which will be governed by special statutes. Duties and functions that hitherto belonged to the Pontifical Council for Laity and to the Pontifical Council for Family will be transferred to this Department starting on 1 September, whereas the aforementioned Pontifical Councils will cease to exist.”
Finally, the new appointments. The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Institute “John Paul II” for Studies on Marriage and Family, and President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, former Dean of the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy in Milan becomes the new president of the Pontifical Institute “John Paul II” for Studies on Marriage and Family.
Finally, the pope appointed S.E. Msgr. Jesús María Cizaurre Berdonces, O.A.R. Bishop of the Diocese of Bragança do Pará (Brazil), transferring him from the diocese of Cametá. The Holy Father accepted Mgr. Luigi Ferrando’s resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese.