Students who attend the institute will now be able to obtain various degrees, including a Doctorate, Licentiate or diploma in the Sciences of Marriage and Family.
Although the statutes for the new institute still need to be defined, the leadership will remain the same, and will continue to be headed by the Institute's Grand Chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Chairman Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, and the entity's Board of Directors.
Until new statutes are in place, the theological institute will temporarily be governed by the norms under which the previous institute operated.
In a Sept. 19 press breifing on the motu proprio, Archbishop Paglia said the decision to establish a completely new entity was due to the importance of the family today.
The two key aspects of the new institute, he said, are that it is now "theological" and "scientific."
Adding "theological" to the title points to "the ecclesial dimension in its fullness, the moral perspective, the sacramental perspective, but the biblical and dogmatic perspective, the perspective of history, of law," he said.
By adding "sciences," Paglia said it gives the institute the ability to study and explore topics in the "entire realm of human studies," including the sociological, anthropological and psychological view from a more scientific perspective.
He said Pope Francis' 2015 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia will be new "magna carta" of-sorts for the institute, noting that Chapter 2 of the document is dedicated to the social and anthropological aspects of the family, while Chapter 4 is dedicated to scripture.
"The family, for Pope Francis, is not simply an abstract reality," the archbishop said. "Families for Pope Francis are families who today must be helped and accompanied to rediscover their historical task, both in the Church and in society."
Because of this, he said, there is a special link between the new motu proprio and the 2014 and 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family.
In addition, he said faculty will not be cut, but rather expanded, bringing in new professors and experts to discuss themes relevant to the the Sciences of Marriage and Family, including those who aren't Catholic.
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Because it is a scientific entity and due to its link to the Pontifical Academy for Life, the institute "dialogues with everyone who reflects on this theme," Paglia said, adding that "it clear that the dialogue with those who aren't Catholic must be done."
Elise Harris was senior Rome correspondent for CNA from 2012 to 2018.