A Note sent out today by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development explains that Holy Father has allowed this new Vatican office more time to fulfill the re-organization requirements of moving from four pontifical councils to becoming one single office. The Note was dated January 26, 2017.

This communiqué notes that this Dicastery came into being last August 2016 with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter motu proprio Humanam progressionem. This was accompanied by what was called “an experimental Statute” that would “guide and orient its activity.”

On January 1, 2017, the new Dicastery was to “enter into function,” at which time the four pontifical councils, whose duties were taken over by the Dicastery, would cease to exist. Those councils were Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Ministry for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and the Ministry for Health Care Workers. It was noted that, “within the new Dicastery a section was created that deals specifically with matters concerning refugees and migrants that is in contact with and receives instructions from the Holy Father.” (ANSA photo of Pope and migrants on Lampedusa island)


“Given that the time allowed for this reorganization was very narrow,” continues the Note, “the Holy Father has extended the time, granting until Easter 2017 for the full activation of the statute.”

The Note explains that the Dicastery “is presided over by a Prefect, assisted by a Secretary and at least one Under-secretary, who can also be faithful lay people.” The prefect for this Dicastery is Cardinal Peter Turkson. Two under-secretaries have been nominated, “whose specific duty is to accompany the section for migrants and refugees. Until others are named, Cardinal Turkson has decided to main, in the vest of ‘delegates’ those who had headed the four councils. Thus, at least temporarily, categories for “secretary delegate” and under-secretary delegates” have been created.


The Dicastery communiqué indicates that, at least in a transitory fashion, the offices occupied by the four councils in the San Callisto building in Trastevere or on Via della Conciliazione continue to function, as do the current phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and social profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels (which the Note listed). A general email address has been activated. All of this will be gradually modified in coming months as a single office is eventually formed.



I was introduced to Fr. Rutler’s writing some time ago by a very good friend in Hawaii who forwarded Father’s homilies and missives to me on a regular basis. Since then, other friends have done the same, and I now regularly read what he has to say, especially when he links Church teachings to important moral and social questions of the day.

You might find the following column fascinating, especially in light of President Trump’s Executive Order ordering a review of visa procedures to enter the United States and restricting the entrance into our country of citizens from 7 nations for a period of 90 days, pending background checks.

February 5, 2017 – FROM THE PASTOR by Fr. George W. Rutler

In the margin of a public speaker’s manuscript was the notation: “Weak point. Shout.”

Such is the rhetoric of those who place emotion over logic and make policy through gangs rather than parliaments. In Athens 2,400 years ago, Aristophanes described the demagogue as having “a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, cross-grained nature and the language of the marketplace.” That marketplace today includes the biased media and the universities that have become daycare centers.

The recent action of our government’s executive branch to protect our borders and enforce national security is based on Constitutional obligations (Art. 1 sec 10 and Art. 4 sec 4). It is a practical protection of the tranquility of order explained by Saint Augustine when he saw the tranquillitas ordinis of Roman civilization threatened. Saint Thomas Aquinas sanctioned border control (S. Th. I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). No mobs shouted in the marketplace two years ago when the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act restricted visa waivers for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. The present ban continues that, and only for a stipulated ninety days, save for Syria. There is no “Muslim ban” as should be obvious from the fact that the restrictions do not apply to other countries with Muslim majorities, such as Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey.

These are facts ignored by demagogues who speak of tears running down the face of the Statue of Liberty. At issue is not immigration, but illegal immigration. It is certainly manipulative of reason to justify uncontrolled immigration by citing previous generations of immigrants to our shores, all of whom went through the legal process, mostly in the halls of Ellis Island. And it is close to blasphemy to invoke the Holy Family as antinomian refugees, for they went to Bethlehem in obedience to a civil decree requiring tax registration, and they violated no statutes when they sought protection in Egypt. Then there was Saint Paul, who worked within the legal system, and invoked his Roman citizenship through privileges granted to his native Tarsus in 66 B.C. (Acts 16:35-38; 22:25-29; 25:11-12) He followed ordered procedure, probably with the status of civis Romanus non optimo jure—a legal citizen, but not allowed to act as a magistrate.

It is obvious that the indignant demonstrators against the new Executive Orders are funded in no little part by wealthy interests who would provoke agitation. These same people have not shown any concern about the neglected Christians seeking refuge from persecution in the Middle East. In 2016 there was a 675% increase in the number of Syrian refugees over the previous year, but while 10% of the Syrian population is Christian, only one-half of one percent of the Syrian Christians were granted asylum. It is thankworthy that our changed government now wants to redress that. The logic of that policy must not be shouted down by those who screech rather than reason.

(From Joan: What does St. Thomas say? http://www.returntoorder.org/2014/07/saint-thomas-say-immigration-2/

For those interested in taking the time to read the January 27 Executive Order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/27/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states)


I never really thought of the cost of this video (which I posted last Friday), although that would have been a reasonable query. Here’s the answer from ChurchPOP:

A lot of people have been asking: How much did that Pope Francis video message to the Super Bowl cost the Vatican? Did they spend millions of dollars??

First, to clear up some confusion: ChurchPOP regrettably erroneously reported that the Pope’s video message would be shown on TV during the game. That was not true. The video was instead shown on the jumbotrons within the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to the more than 70,000 people in attendance. So it was not like a normal Super Bowl commercial.

But companies would still normally pay for a video to be shown during the Super Bowl, even if only in the stadium. So how much did the Vatican pay for that?


“The message did not cost the Vatican anything,” Director of the Holy See Press Office Greg Burke confirmed to ChurchPOP. “Most people are happy to have a message from the Pope, and the Super Bowl is no exception.”

So if you were concerned that the Vatican spent millions of dollars on the video that could have gone somewhere else, don’t worry!

Here’s the historic video in case you missed it:


Here’s what Pope Francis said:

“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace.

“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules.

“May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.

“Thank you!”