In a move that has shocked students and staff, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, has announced the closure of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. It will remain open until the end of 2018 to cater for existing students. The Catholic Weekly reports.
Archbishop Hart sent a letter on Wednesday to faculty and staff of the institute, notifying them of the decision and citing concerns about low student numbers.
The institute was founded in 2001 to “promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community, within the context of higher education in Australia and education in theology,” according to its website.
The founding director was then-Fr Anthony Fisher OP, now Archbishop of Sydney.
The institute is an affiliate of the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, founded by St John Paul II following a recommendation of the 1980 Synod of Bishops devoted to the family.
John Paul II was to announce the establishment of the institute at a Wednesday general audience in 1981; an announcement foiled by an assassination attempt on the his life.
Its constitution was instead given on 7 October, 1982, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The institute has been headed for more than a decade by Professor Tracey Rowland who, in 2014, was appointed by the Holy See to its 30-member International Theological Commission, then one of only five women on the commission.
Melbourne archbishop shuts down the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family (The Catholic Weekly)
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne to close (The Catholic Herald)