John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family

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The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, with headquarters at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, has as its purpose study and research that highlight the uniqueness and importance of the Church's mission to the family. The Synod of Bishops (Fifth General Assembly, 1980) had called for the creation of theological centers devoted to the study of the Church's teaching on marriage and the family. Pope John Paul II responded in October 1982 by issuing Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum, an apostolic constitution that serves as the charter of the Institute. The Institute is empowered to grant degrees, and its president is appointed by the Holy Father.

It was Pope John Paul II's stated intention that the work of the Institute be spread throughout the world, and thus it established extensions in Spain (Valencia), Mexico (Mexico City-Guadalajara), and the United States (Washington, D.C.). The last was founded by the invitation of James Cardinal Hickey, archbishop of Washington, and the request of Virgil C. Dechant, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, to serve American and other English-speaking students. The Congregation for Catholic Education gave it the status of a pontifical faculty August 22, 1988.

The curricula of the John Paul II Institute encompass the full range of studies required for a complete theological education in the areas of marriage and family: philosophy, theological method, systematic and spiritual theology, Christian ethics and moral theology, public policy, canon law, biblical theology, and the life sciences. The programs of study seek to foster in students the theological competency necessary for the exercise of a variety of Christian ministries, including counseling, pastoral and missionary work in the specialized areas of marriage and family, and for religious leadership positions, especially in family life bureaus. In particular, the Institute prepares its students for work in Christian education, research, and publication, especially as members of the faculties of seminaries, theological schools, and departments of religious studies. In addition, the Institute enables persons anticipating professional service in education, health care, social work, community and public interest organizations, law, and public life to understand more fully the theological basis of their vocations.

The American extension is located at 487 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20017.

[c. a. anderson]

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John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family

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