What is Pope Francis' new Vatican office for?

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

To promote Catholic social teaching and ensure appropriate assistance to vulnerable people—especially victims of war, refugees and the sick—Pope Francis has established a new Vatican office. In a letter initiated by him and published by the Vatican on Aug. 31, the pope said the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will merge the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Migrants and Travelers, and Health Care Ministry. The pope named Cardinal Peter Turkson, current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to serve as prefect of the new office. In his letter, signed on Aug. 17, the pope said, "This dicastery will be competent particularly 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.” While Cardinal Turkson will lead the new office, a section dedicated to refugees and migrants will be led directly by the pope.

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