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Pope issues Motu Proprio, setting up new Institute for Marriage and Family

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/19/17

From Vatican Radio: 

Pope Francis has set up a new Pontifical institute for the study of marriage and the family, replacing the organisation set up by his predecessor in 1981. In a Motu Proprio, published on Tuesday, the Vatican announced that the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences is being established to carry forward the work of the two recent Synods of Bishops and the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Noting the important work that has been carried out by the original institute, founded in the wake of the 1980 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis says the Synods of 2014 and 2015 have brought a renewed awareness of “the new pastoral challenges to which the Christian community is called to respond”. Contemporary anthropological and cultural changes, the pope says, require “a diversified and analytical approach” which cannot be “limited to pastoral and missionary practices” of the past. Instead, he says, we must be able to interpret our faith in a context in which individuals are less supported than before as they deal with the complex realities of family life. Faithful to the teachings of Christ, the pope says, we must explore these “lights and shadows of family life” with realism, wisdom and love.

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CNS indicates the new institute will expand the scope of the John Paul II Institute, but not entirely replace it:

To better prepare priests and pastoral workers to help meet the challenges they face today, Pope Francis is strengthening the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and changing its name to the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and Family. The new institution is to expand and deepen the types of courses offered as well as take “an analytical and diversified approach” that allows students to study all aspects and concerns of today’s families while remaining “faithful to the teaching of Christ,” the pope wrote. The re-foundation of the institute was issued “motu proprio,” on the pope’s own accord, in an apostolic letter, “Summa Familiae Cura” (“Great Care for the Family”). Dated Sept. 8, the feast of the nativity of Mary, the letter was released at the Vatican Sept. 19. The original institute for studies on marriage and the family was established by St. John Paul II in 1982, after the 1980 Synod of Bishops on the family called for the creation of centers devoted to the study of the church’s teaching on marriage and the family. While the central institute is based in Rome, there are branches around the world, including in the United States, Australia, Mexico and India.
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