Pope names Cardinal O’Malley to Pontifical Council for the Family

BRAINTREE -- Pope Benedict XVI named Sept. 30 Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley to the presiding committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family which is headed by Italian Cardinal Ennio Antonelli.

The Pontifical Council for the Family is the Vatican office in charge of promoting the pastoral ministry to families including the Church’s pro-life activities.

In an Oct. 7 interview with The Pilot, Cardinal O’Malley expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for the appointment “to this very important council.”

“The family and marriage are at the centerpiece of the Church’s social teachings and ministry,” the cardinal said.

The cardinal pointed out that the Council is also in charge of promoting the defense of life in all its stages, from conception until the moment of natural death.

The defense of life, he said, is one of the most important issues that we face, not only in the United States but around the world.

“I look forward to participating with the other members of the council to try to serve the Holy Father to the best of our ability on these areas that are so crucial to the life of the Church.”

Cardinal O’Malley is currently serving in two other Vatican offices, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for the Clergy.

In the same announcement, the pope appointed new members and consultants including four other cardinals and three bishops named to the presiding committee of the council and five other U.S. Catholics.

Ten married couples from 10 different countries were named members of the council. As the U.S. representatives, Pope Benedict chose a professor of moral theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington and his wife, who are the parents of five children. John S. and Claire Grabowski live in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Only one married couple -- Frank and Julie LaBoda -- are among the 18 consultants named to the council. The LaBodas, who live in Cross Plains, Wis., in the Diocese of Madison, are international coordinators for the Retrouvaille program for couples experiencing difficulty in their marriages.

The other U.S. consultant named to the council is Teresa Stanton Collett, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. She has focused on the importance of protecting human life and marriage and lectures on marriage, religion and bioethics.

According to the Vatican web site, the Pontifical Council for the Family deals with issues related to theology and catechesis of the family; conjugal and family spirituality; the rights of the family and the child; formation of the laity for the pastoral care of the family and marriage preparation courses.

Other issues of its competence include sex education, demographics, contraception and abortion; sterilization, ethical and pastoral problems related to AIDS and other problems of bioethics; legislation regarding marriage, the family, family policies and the protection of human life.

Since 1994 the Council has organized international gatherings of families named “World Meetings of Families” in Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Manila, Valencia and Mexico City.

Catholic News Service materials contributed to this story.