Today it was announced that Pope Francis created a “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development” through a Motu Proprio published on today in L’Osservatore Romano. More from Vatican Radio HERE.
The Dicastery will come into effect on 1 January 2017 and will be especially “competent in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture”.
On that same date, four Pontifical Councils will cease to exist and will be incorporated into the new institution.
A dicastery is an official “department” of the Curia. Congregations and Councils are both “dicasteries”.
I suspect that this new Dicastery will eventually be made into a Congregation.
One thing that occurred to me is that by squishing four dicasteries that usually have a Cardinal as their head into one dicastery, he eliminated three curial cardinal positions. This is what I predicted he would do shortly after he was elected: he would cut down the Curia and, thereby, shift power away from the Curia to regions. If he wants to maintain the number of electors – and he probably will – he can now give a red hat to three bishops “out there” somewhere in the world, not excluding Maseru in Lethoso, Juneau in Alaska, or even Tawara, Nauru and Funfati.
Whom shall he choose!
Time will tell.