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INTRODUCTION by Prof. Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, Dean of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II for the Sciences of the Marriage and Family
The recomposition of the thought and practice of faith with the global covenant of man and woman is now, with all evidence, a planetary theological space for the epochal remodelling of the Christian form; and for the reconciliation of the human creature with the beauty of faith. To put it in the simplest terms, by overcoming every intellectualistic separation between theology and pastoral care, spirituality and life, knowledge and love, this evidence must be rendered convincing for all: the knowledge of faith cares about the men and women of our time.
The update called for by Pope Francis (Summa familiae cura, 8 September 2017), which is reflected in the Statutes of the new Institute, officially approved by the Holy See through the Congregation for Catholic Education, is inspired by a consistent integration of theological, moral and pastoral formation, with the most extensive involvement - proficient and critical alike - of human knowledge. The Constitution Veritatis Gaudium, on the other hand, explicitly mentions the need to create "specialized centres of research in order to study the epochal issues affecting humanity today and to offer appropriate and realistic paths for their resolution." Our Institute, thanks to John Paul II's visionary insight, whose openness we should honour with even more creative generosity, is already focused on this approach. Now, the new Institute is about to take the ship out to sea, on the most remote and unexplored routes of the new evangelization and the new Christian community.
The new curricula clearly show the updated instrumentation on board that our navigation will rely on. The strengthening of its theological fundamentals passes through the new centrality conferred on the fundamental structure of the Christian form, in which the subject of God's love and the figures of human love, the grace of faith and the passions of life are recomposed - existentially, ethically, spiritually.
This theological reinforcement, then articulated in the various teachings defining the academic profile of the Institute, consistently paves the way for a friendly dialogue and competent exchange with the humanistic and scientific knowledge that is most closely linked to it. Such as, for example: the in-depth study of the history and culture of family institutions, the socio-political and inter-cultural centrality of comparative law, the importance of the techno-economic sphere on the conjugal-family ethos. The Institute, which is now fully qualified to award academic degrees which have universal canonical validity, offers the chance to undertake specializations and degrees of academic value also in the context of a special competence in the "human sciences" of matrimony and family, in line with the inspiration and Christian formation of the faith.
A bit of ambition in this project is undeniable. This ambition must certainly be humbly aware of the fact that the Spirit also calls upon ecclesiastical academies to be profoundly renewed, in order to rise up to a very high "cultural and spiritual challenge", in which the effort of a "long path of renewal" is also taken into account (Veritatis Gaudium, 6). That bit of ambition, however, purified from any sense of arrogance and dispute, can become the leaven and salt of a joyful diakonia of faith.
Vatican City, September 11, 2019