After the summer storms, a sense of “normality” has returned to the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome, in time for the new academic year.

That’s the opinion of Institute president Pierangelo Sequeri, who has expressed his hope that with its reforms the Institute may become “an institution of excellence of the Holy See”.

Driving the news

Sequeri was speaking with Vatican News on the occasion of the presentation of the Institute’s new 2019-2020 curricula.

In the Institute’s own words, the “big news” this academic year is the offering of two Licentiates – instead of the one up until now – in Theology of Marriage and Family and in Marriage and Family Science.

Those qualifications are for the first time now fully accredited and will be recognised canonically.

“This reorganisation of the courses of study will strengthen the theological foundations, confirming the key role of the family as a fundamental structure of the Christian form and opening it to a dialogue with the scientific and humanistic knowledge that is related to it”, the Institute said in a press release.

That’s alongside a strengthening of the dialogue between theology and the human sciences with the establishment at the school of new departments of Law and Economics.


Head of John Paul II Institute in Rome shrugs off conservative criticism

Go deeper

Presenting the Institute’s new academic offer, Sequeri explained “the tradition of the Institute and innovation, as always should be the case in the Church, harmonise [and] complement each other”.

“There are courses that are renewed as a result of things already acquired, and there are new proposals that integrate the perspective that is necessary today”, he continued.

For the record

Sequeri put to rest the complaints of students, faculty and other academics over the Institute’s restructuring.

Those complaints included fierce criticisms in the wake of the publication of the Institute’s new statutes in July.

The critics were worried that with his reforms of the Institute, Pope Francis was doing away with the legacy of Pope John Paul II.

But according to Sequeri, that was “fundamentally a conceptual concern because, there being no curriculum, the imagination has its starts, its fears”.

Now with the new study plan “the reality should calm the fears; it should show that these conjectures were unfounded, that the tradition of the Institute is respected, that innovation isn’t a devastation – on the contrary, it is an added value”, the president of the John Paul II Institute said.

The new curricula “should wipe out the fears related to the fantasies”, Sequeri concluded.

Next on Novena:

What’s going on at the John Paul II Institute in Rome, and why you should care