Guide HOLY SEE Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Holy See

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As the new dicastery—more or less — took over the authority and scope of activity of all the four abolished councils, it was not easy to condense these complex tasks under one name that expresses the scope of activities of the new dicastery.

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However, the congregations in dicasteries perform tasks in connection with the life and mission of the church. Furthermore, the most important fact is that congregations own delegated executive power. In general, councils do not own—apart from some special cases—such executive power. Possibly, the legislator was motivated by the fact that the scope of activities of the new office, even though it does not belong to the issues which are a matter for the congregations, is significant and it is about the social teachings of the church.

A favoured place was hoped to be secured for the new office in the structure of the Holy See.

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It was drawn near to congregations, which own greater authority, not in its name but in its legal regulation, leadership, management etc. At the same time, imprecise naming can cause uncertainty in authority and problems in management. The Authority and the Scope of Activities of the New Dicastery Motu proprio that decreed to establish the dicastery shortly summarizes the tasks of the new office.

These other fields mentioned in the papal documents can be the causes of migration, or they belong to the scope of problems arising with migration. The latter consists of the right to work, especially that of the under-age, or the problems human trafficking in which the new dicastery also has rights to investigate.

In these human right questions Popes or certain offices of the Holy See made statements several times. However, there were no Holy See offices which would have played the role of an umbrella organization. As the dicastery technically was formed with merging the above mentioned four pontifical councils, it would be logical for the new office to have the authority and scope of activities of the four merged dicasteries.

Neither the establishing motu proprio, Humanam progressionem nor the regulating authority of the new dicastery reveals this fact. Rather, the new office does not seem to have a hundred per cent similarity with the scope of activities of the four abolished offices. The competency of the Roman Curia offices can be defined on territorial competency—e.

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Clearly, both the scope of the above mentioned people and of the connected human right questions is huge. It will not be easy to cover all the sectors, not to mention defining the groups mentioned in motu proprio. Furthermore, the question is what will happen to those territories that used to be under the authority and scope of activities of the four—now merged into one—formal pontifical councils, but neither motu proprio nor the statute of the office mentions it definitely.

The new office does not seem to have authority in these questions on the basis of the general principles of the preamble. One department of the new office definitely deals with migration. It deals with a field that is considered to be especially important by Pope Francis. The Holy See already owned an independent office that concentrated on the pastoral and humanitarian assistance for immigrants. However, as the name of the former pontifical council showed, its authority did not extend to those only who fled from their native land. It supplied pastoral care for those all who were far—whatever the reason was—from their native land.

Though the council—in theory—owned nine departments which concentrated on those living far from their native land, for a long time its main task had been the pastoral and humanitarian care of those living far from their homeland for any reason. It is clear as for other reasons, e. Obviously, sooner or later the problem will have to be faced with. Regarding the previous problem the church has an authentic teaching, but papal immigration policy did not emphasize it. A great leap forward that the utterances speak about the duties of the state regarding the protection of its citizens.

It is not clear from the new documents, clarifying the scope of activities of the new dicastery, whether the Holy See office wants deal with—at least in theory—the security of the citizens of the receiving countries or not. The cardinal is helped by a secretary. In this aspect the statute of the dicastery follows the general laws and curial practice referring to the Roman Curia. The fourth paragraph of the Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus, which is about the leading of dicasteries, notes that the prefect or the president leads and represents a dicastery.

The secretary and the undersecretary help the prefect or the president with leading a dicastery in cooperation. The everyday engagement deriving from the leadership requires the prefect to live in Rome. Furthermore, there can be lay Christian faithfuls among undersecretaries. The apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus mentions only one undersecretary. It is not unprecedented in the history of the Roman Curia.

Considering the fact that the new dicastery was established with merging four pontifical councils, it is justified appoint separate undersecretaries into integrated territories. On the other hand, against this, in other Holy See dicasteries with wide field of activities only one undersecretary was employed. Practically, Pope Francis appointed two undersecretaries, but each of them helps the work of the dicastery only in one field, with migration. More questions arise with the fact that there can be lay Christian faithfuls among the undersecretaries.

If we draw dicastery near congregations, the problem is more vivid. According to the current Canon law, lay people can participate in—to the norm of law—exercising the power of governance potestas regiminis Can. Executive power, which is an integral part of the power of governance beside legislative and judiciary power, can be practised by those who have received sacred order.

The post-councilian legislation has repeated the principles in connection with practicing church governmental authority and with the assistance of lay personnels several times. The Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus expressly notes regarding the Roman Curia that those who have received sacred order can participate in exercising the power of governance.

Since, it is not easy to find the border between exercising the power of governance and participating in it. The question has not been answered yet in all detail by canonicity. With this the Pope wanted to express his special attention towards the situation of refugees and migrants.

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At first, this papal measure seems unusual. For example, Congregation for Catechism was under the direct guidance of the Roman Pontiff because of the theological and moral questions concerned, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Congregation for the Oriental Churches because of the delicate situation of their area of operation.

The Holy Father appointed two people to be undersecretaries who are experienced in the field of migration, and help his work.

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The Principle of Cooperation In the interest of higher efficiency, cooperation is considered to be evidence both by motu proprio and by the temporarily allocated statute of the new office. Cooperation is specified by the legislator on different levels:. It is clear from the legislation which determines the operation of the Roman Curia.

The statute repeats this principle first in general par. The latter is logical, as the new dicastery operates in a field which is connected to international legislation, execution and institutions with number of strands par. However, according to the current law 64 the first section of the State Secretary should cooperate with the new dicastery without any particular directives.

The State Secretariat can fulfil its general function, with which it helps the Roman Pontiff manage everyday tasks, this way. The new dicastery deals with actual political challenges whose evaluation has actively done by the Pope lately. It is especially true concerning migrants.

Numbers of travels, declarations, documents and activities had to be arranged. As the fields studied by the new dicastery affect certain state and international organizations, its close connection to the second section of the State Secretariat, responsible for international relations, is also logical par. Similarly, the dicastery cooperates with the State Secretariat when establishing international, intergovernmental delegations that deals with the matter of the new dicastery par. It can be assumed that the dicastery will cooperate with other Holy See offices in a way that is specified in the laws. The best possible forum to achieve this goal is information exchange between Holy See offices.

Such committees can be established permanently or to solve a particular problem. Considering that there can be eastern Catholics among the refugees, we can discuss the competence of Congregation of the Eastern Churches. Therefore it asks the dicastery to cooperate with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences par. The new dicastery, in the light of safety and social challenges of the era, was established to deepen these principles in practice.

The academy was in close relation with the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax , which was integrated into new dicastery. The cooperation is reflected in common conferences mainly. It cannot be excluded that the cooperation will cover other areas later.

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The cooperation is justified from the point of view that the academy has published numbers of studies lately which discuss themes that are in connection with the scope of activities of the new dicastery. The teachers of the university perform advisory and other tasks at Holy See offices. This cooperation will be justified by the scope of activities of the dicastery. It is possible that the cooperation will be extended over non-Rome based universities and theological faculties, too. Similarly, certain research centres that haven dealing with the challenges in which the new dicastery have been given competence may have greater significance.

But there is certainly much more to be done, in order to realize all the potential of these instruments of communion, which are especially appropriate today in view of the need to respond promptly and effectively to the issues which the Church must face in these rapidly changing times. The statute of the new dicastery calls the attention to the possible parts of cooperation. Other possible cooperation forms can be concluded from the general law referring to the Roman Curia and from the practice. The new dicastery especially counts on the cooperation with Episcopal Conferences.

The law does not mention deliberately that the committees of Episcopal Conferences, dealing with migration, can play important roles, too. The particular role of the conference is understandable: it is compulsory to be established in the Latin Church, and all superiors of the particular churches of a given country are members Can. The pastoral tasks of greater significance are coordinated via the conference Can.