Following its reorganization, the dicastery describes its workflow as a three-part process: listening-dialogue, research-reflection, and communication-restitution.
The idea behind using the word “restitution,” Czerny told CNA in a brief one-on-one interview, “is an element of justice.”
Restitution “is to restore something that was given,” though not something that was taken away, he emphasized.
There are, he said, “so many situations in which the poor have given their concerns, have shared their concerns with people, and the people have said, oh, that’s too bad, and then they’ve gone away.”
“We feel that … if we ask them what are their anxieties, what are their fears, what are their challenges, that we owe them an answer.”
The role of the dicastery, Czerny said during the press conference, “is not advocacy itself,” nor does the office directly evangelize — an important focus of the new constitution.
“We are ready to help accompany, we are ready to help repair, we are ready to help reflect,” he said.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development plays a supporting role to the local Churches, “the primary agents of evangelization,” Czerny told CNA after the presser.
“We think that promoting integral human development is a very effective and often wordless way of evangelizing, and we hope to help the Church to do that.”
The cardinal said he sees a complementarity with the work of the Dicastery for Evangelization, which merged the former Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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On the topic of practical help for local Churches in need, the dicastery’s secretary, Sister Smerilli, said that if nuncios — the pope’s ambassadors — get in touch, the dicastery can act as a go-between to connect them to aid.
The dicastery exists to support the bishops’ conferences and other local Catholic organizations, the office’s leaders said.
Relationships with multilateral bodies such as the United Nations fall under the purview of the secretariat of state.
“But Praedicate evangelium asks us to collaborate with the secretariat of state,” Smerilli explained, “and what we can bring is the experience on the ground, the voice of the local churches, to be able to make these voices also matter” to those who work in the diplomatic or political spheres.