In June, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chancellor of the Pontifical Theological Institute and president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, re-tweeted a post by the Institute featuring the poster of the film “Casomai,” by the Italian director Alessandro D'Alatri. The tweet sparked controversy, as the poster features nudity.
The tweet was later removed, although a statement on Archbishop Paglia’s personal webpage defended it, arguing that the nudity on the poster was not erotic.
The statement also clarified that Paglia does not manage or approve tweets before they are published.
“[A]ll the social network accounts linked to Vincenzo Paglia's name (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube, etc.) concern exclusively institutional activities and are managed by the Press Office of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute,” the statement said.
This arrangement has not changed. Arnaldo Casali, the head of the Pontifical Institute's press office, controls and produces the social media content of the Institute’s pages. He also manages Archbishop Paglia’s website and Italian-language Twitter account.
Casali became friends with Paglia when the latter was Archbishop of Terni.
According to one of his official bios, Casali, 45, is a professional journalist whose main fields of interest are culture, arts, and religion. He is also the artistic director of the Terni Film Festival. He has no background in Vatican or Catholic issues.
A source within the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute, who spoke to CNA on the condition of anonymity, said the recent Facebook post was not part of a plot, but due to ignorance.
“The real issue is that Casali has no knowledge so far of the nature of the Pontifical Theological Institute, nor does he know how its stances can have an impact on the Catholic world, and can also affect Catholic teaching,” the source said.
The Pontifical Theological Institute is still viewed with scrutiny by some following a 2019 controversy surrounding new statutes for the Institute. The new statutes came in response to a 2017 announcement that Pope Francis would legally refound the Institute, and broaden its academic curriculum, from a focus on the theology of marriage and the family to an approach that will also include the study of the family from the perspective of the social sciences.
Students, alumni, and faculty raised concerns about the role of faculty members in the institute’s new governing structure, about the reduction of theology courses and the elimination of some theology disciplines, and about the dismissal of some faculty members.
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