Pope taps human rights expert for integral human development office

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Pope Francis named a French priest, who is an expert in human rights, ethics and pastoral care in the field of health care, to be secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Fr. Bruno-Marie Duffe, a 65-year-old priest of the Archdiocese of Lyon, was named June 16 to the No. 2 post in the dicastery to assist the prefect, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson.

The dicastery, which began operating in January, combines the responsibilities of the former pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Migrants and Travelers, Cor Unum and Health Care Ministry. It was established to help better promote Catholic social teaching and ensure appropriate assistance to vulnerable people, especially victims of war, refugees and the sick.

Born in Lyon, Aug. 21, 1951, Duffe was ordained in his home archdiocese in 1981. He served as parish priest and, starting in 1982, taught moral theology and social doctrine of the Catholic Church at the Catholic University of Lyon and the Jesuit cultural center "La Baume les Aix."

He received his doctorate in law and social ethics in 1996, later becoming professor of social ethics and healthcare in 2005 at the Leon Berard regional cancer center. He was co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Rights at the Catholic University of Lyon from 1985 to 2004, and he played a major role in the creation of the UNESCO chair there on the rights of minorities.

At the time of his appointment to the Vatican office, he held multiple positions in France: regional spiritual counselor for an association of Christian entrepreneurs and business leaders; national chaplain of the Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development, "Terre Solidaire"; member of the Justice and Peace Council — France; and director of the Catholic University of Lyon's certificate program in pastoral assistance in the field of healthcare, which includes the formation of hospital chaplains and those in charge of pastoral programs.

He has authored numerous publications on moral theology, ethics and health care, and human rights. Because of his expertise, Duffe has been sent on a variety of international missions by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. refugee agency with different NGOs like Caritas, Doctors Without Borders and Terre Des Hommes, which works against child exploitation.

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