On Friday, the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ pick of human rights expert Fr. Bruno-Marie Duffé for secretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, making him the final piece of the leadership puzzle for the new department.
From the French diocese of Lyon, Fr. Duffé’s appointment completes a period of development for the dicastery, which went into effect Jan. 1 and combines the former Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Healthcare Workers.
The new mega-dicastery is headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, who since March 2013 had served as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Francis also formed a special Migrants and Refugees Section within the dicastery, with himself as head, at least for the time being.
With Fr. Duffé’s appointment, the leadership of the dicastery is finally complete. Previously, Fr. Duffé was a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Born on Aug. 21, 1951 in Lyon, France, Fr. Duffé, 65, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Lyon in 1981.
He holds a doctorate in political philosophy, a master’s in theology, and a diploma from the School of Advanced Social Studies of Science and the Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
He’s been a professor of moral theology and social doctrine of the Church at the Catholic University of Lyon and the Jesuit Center of Baume lex Aix since 1982.
From 1985-2004 he co-founded and later directed the Institute for Human Rights at the Catholic University of Lyon, actively contributing to the creation of the UNESCO Chair on minority rights.
He served as chaplain of the Regional Center for Cancer Control from 2004-2014, and co-chaired the Ethics Committee at Léon Bérard.
Episcopal Vicar of “Family, Health and Society” since 2012, he works on the Diocesan Council of Solidarity, created in 2013. He also initiated a coordination for the migrant crisis for the Diocese of Lyon.
From 1999 to 2015 he visited Haiti, Rwanda, Kosovo, Ukraine, Algeria, Cameroon, Israel, and Palestine. In some of these countries, he accompanied groups of young people, students and teachers.
He speaks French, English, Spanish and Italian.
While the original name of the new congregation for Integral Human Development was initially expected to include the elements of the councils it will merge, the final choice is a reflection of Pope Francis’ own personal style and is reminiscent of themes he has spoken of frequently since his election.
In his Motu Proprio “Humanam progressionem,” signed Aug. 17, 2016 Pope Francis stressed that the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel, which “takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation.”
He approved the statutes for the new dicastery “ad experimentum,” explaining that it 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.”