Roman Dicastery to promote reflection on role of women in church and society.
Updated statutes make it a point to mention relations with national bishops' conferences, dioceses and other church groups.
Pope Francis has updated the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life and they have a strong mandate to promote women and look after families in “irregular” situations.
"The dicastery works to deepen the reflection on the relationship between men and women in their respective specificity, reciprocity, complementarity and equal dignity," the new statutes said, reports Catholic News Service.
"Valuing the feminine 'genius,' it offers a contribution to ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation."
The new statutes, approved by Francis on an experimental basis, were released by the Vatican May 8 and are to go into effect May 13.
They replace statutes issued in June 2016, just before the new office began functioning under the leadership of Cardinal Kevin Farrell.
Most articles in the statutes remain unchanged. However, the new set eliminated a requirement that the office have three separate sections — for laity, for family and for life — each presided over by an undersecretary. The new statutes stipulate that the office will have "at least two lay undersecretaries."
The introductory article makes it a point to say that the dicastery is to maintain relations with national bishops' conferences, dioceses and other church groups and promote collaboration among them.
Keeping in line with Pope Francis' call in Amoris Laetitia to improve marriage preparation programs, the new statutes called on the dicastery to offer "guidelines for training programs for engaged couples preparing for marriage, and for young married couples."
The dicastery is to also take into account "the pastoral care of the church also in relation to so-called 'irregular' situations," which include cohabiting couples and couples who are divorced and civilly remarried, Catholic News Service reported.
Moreover, the dicastery is to "expresses the particular concern of the church for the young, promoting their agency in the midst of the challenges of today's world.
"It supports the initiatives of the Holy Father in the field of youth ministry and is at the service of the episcopal conferences, of international youth movements and associations, promoting their collaboration and organizing meetings on an international level."