Cardinal Cupich to lead visitation of Vatican department

News: Vatican

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has been appointed by the pope to conduct a visitation of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Holy See Press Office has confirmed.

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In a brief statement sent to journalists on Thursday afternoon, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said that the visitation of the department “will begin in the next few days and will be led by His Eminence Cardinal Cupich of Chicago.”

According to the statement, the visitation “takes place in the context of a normal review of the activity of the departments, aimed at acquiring an updated representation of the conditions in which they operate.”

The department is currently led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, 72.

The visitation follows several similar reviews of major Vatican departments in recent months. 

Pope Francis ordered a similar visitation at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments following the acceptance of the resignation of its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah, in February. That review concluded some weeks later, and in May, Francis confirmed the department’s secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roach as the new prefect. 

Earlier this month, Francis ordered a similar visitation of the Congregation for Clergy, just days before naming Korean Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik to replace the congregation’s 79-year old prefect Cardinal Beniamino Stella. That same week, the pope ordered a sweeping review of the management of his own Diocese of Rome.

The raft of departmental visitations is widely expected to be linked to the forthcoming promulgation of a new governing constitution for the Roman curia, Evangelium Praedicate, which is expected to be promulgated in the coming weeks. 

The document will reportedly finish a reordering of curial departments undertaken by Francis since his election in 2013, with further mergers of smaller departments and the rebranding of larger ones expected in some cases. 

The publication of the final version is also expected to coincide with a major reshuffle of cardinal prefects, with the pope predicted to replace the heads of several important departments who have already passed the age of retirement.

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was created by Pope Francis in 2016 after the merger of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which coordinated the work of Catholic charitable funds and relief agencies. The dicastery legally came into being on Jan. 1, 2017. 

Cardinal Cupich has served as Archbishop of Chicago since 2014. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities leading the archdiocese, he is already a member of several Vatican bodies, including the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Catholic Education. 

Cupich has been the subject of widespread speculation in recent months, with some predicting that he would be appointed by the pope to lead a Vatican department following the promulgation of the new Vatican constitution. 

Cupich is expected to conduct the visitation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development while continuing in post as Archbishop of Chicago, at least for the time being. None of those appointed by Pope Francis to conduct visitations of Vatican departments have, so far, been promoted to lead them.