On Friday, the final day of the meeting of the Council of Cardinals, the group set their sights on the Pontifical Councils for the laity and the family, with a special mention of the potential inclusion of laity in those councils' tasks. According to Fr. Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, the council of cardinals on July 4 “resumed its reflections on the dicasteries of the curia. The Pontifical Councils for laity and family were studied in particular depth, especially in terms of the contributions and role that should be assumed by laypeople, married couples, and women.” A possible merger of those two councils into a congregation for the laity is expected, but Fr. Lombardi stressed that “decisions were not made, though more detailed proposals were offered that will subsequently be inserted into the overall framework of the new configuration of the curia.” He underscored that “there is still not a draft of a new (apostolic) constitution, since the cardinals are at the moment just taking into consideration the contributions generally given by individual cardinals charged with the task of studying specific matters.” Fr. Lombardi recounted that an English-speaking cardinal had described the meetings as “free, frank, and friendly,” and that Pope Francis “is very naturally involved in the dialogue, and he also favors dialogue,” even while “we should consider that the council will make its suggestions, but Pope Francis will make the final decision.” During the meetings, the cardinals also addressed the issues of how nunciatures work, and the procedures for the appointment of bishops. In the afternoon, the council focused on the dicasteries that have so far been studied less thoroughly. This round of meetings, held July 1-4, was the fifth meeting of the council of cardinals. The next three sessions will take place Sep. 15-17, Dec. 9-11, and Feb. 9-11, and Fr. Lombardi underscored that there will be further meetings following these.
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