The new dicastery on the family, laity, and life will take effect Sept. 1, 2016, at which point both the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the Pontifical Council for the Family will be dissolved. The Pontifical Academy for Life will be connected to the new entity according to its competence. Last October, at the end of the Synod on the Family, the Holy Father announced his intent to create the new dicastery, and his creation of a special commission tasked with delineating canonically its competencies.
Francis approved the statues for the newest dicastery "ad experimentum" on the proposal of the Council of Cardinals in charge of the study of the reform of the Roman Curia, according to a June 4 statement from the Holy See press office.
The new Vatican body will be tasked with projects relating to the apostolate of the laity, the institution of marriage, and the family within the life of the Church.
It will deal with matters regarding the promotion of life, the apostolate of the laity, the pastoral care and of the family, and "its mission, according to God's design, to support human life," according to statutes which the Pope approved Saturday.
The heads of the dicastery for family, laity, and life will include a prefect, who will be assisted by a secretary which, the statutes say, could be a lay person, along with three lay undersecretaries.
Members of the department will include lay persons, men and women, celibate and married, working in different fields of activity and coming from different parts of the world.