The the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Historical Note

The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of John Paul II, of 28 June 1988, in the context of the general reorganization of the Roman Curia, elevated the Pontifical Commission ” de Pastorali Migratorum atque Itinerantium Cura ” to the rank of Pontifical Council.

The commission was established by Paul VI on March 19, 1970, with the Motu Proprio Apostolicae Caritatis .

That body inherited, among others, the tasks of the Migration Office, established in two sections at the Secretariat of State in 1946, and the Office of the Delegate for Emigration Works, created by the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia , of the 1st August 1952.

This, in turn, had taken the place of the Office of the Prelate for Italian emigration, established with a Notification of the Consistorial of October 23, 1920, under the pontificate of Benedict XV.

Before that, Saint Pius X had created at the Consistorial Office the Special Office for Emigration with the Motu Proprio Cum Omnes Catholicos , dated August 5, 1912.

But the idea of ​​establishing a unitary and central body for assistance to migrants of all nationalities dates back to Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini. He explained the project to St. Pius X in a letter dated July 22, 1904 and, in more detail, in a memorial of May 4, 1905.


The categories of persons, who because of their conditions of life, can not enjoy the ordinary ministry of parish priests or are deprived of any assistance (see Christus Dominus, 18), that is migrants, exiles, refugees and refugees , fishermen and seamen, air transport workers, nomads, circus people and lunaparkers, those who undertake journeys for reasons of piety, study or leisure, land transport workers and other similar categories (see PB 150 and 151 and circular letter to the Episcopal Conferences “Church and Human Mobility”, 1978, II, F).


The Dicastery, headed by the President, assisted by the Secretary, assisted by the Sub-Secretary, includes about 25 Cardinals and Bishops Members, as well as about fifteen Consultors.