Sequeri said that a change to the Institute’s curriculum and direction, called for by Pope Francis in 2017, and delineated explicitly in recently approved statutes, “responds to the great impulse of Pope Francis, who encouraged the Institute from the outset to equip itself with all the tools necessary to fulfill the mission entrusted to it since its creation of John Paul II, in the new context in which the Church lives its bonds of love in the context of the transmission of human life and of the Christian faith that pertain to marriage and the family, according to God's plan.”
“New tools mean instruments of knowledge: not only in the sphere of the so-called sciences and human rights, but also theological and pastoral studies, which must more closely be united to one another. New tools also mean adequate resources for updated information and practical training (international considerations, pastoral counseling, comparative law, family mediation, etc.). The meticulousness in the transparent and deep adherence to the richness of Catholic tradition and the authoritative magisterium, however, obviously does not represent an innovation,” he said.
Regarding the concerns of students and alumni, Sequeri said he had only been recently notified of “the arrival of a letter, signed by several dozens of ‘students and former students’ (we have had thousands, of course) which expresses concern about the possibility of losing the solid training guaranteed by the Institute and about their uncertainty concerning the passage and coordination of the new teachings.”
Its organizers say the letter was sent by email on July 25 to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the institute’s grand chancellor, and to Sequeri, and by registered mail on July 26.
“I am a little surprised that the letter, addressed to me (and to Archbishop Paglia) has been made public even before the recipients gave feedback and had time to respond. In any case, many communications relating to legitimate requests for information and reassurance are already being fulfilled, at the same pace as the ongoing definition of the process. It will be my responsibility, of course, to draw up a final answer, based on the real data of all the formalities in full operation,” Sequeri added.
On the website publishing their letter, students of the John Paul II Institute say they have not yet received assurance that they will be able to continue in the academic programs they began, and that the dismissal of two theology professors suggests they will not be able to do so. They also expressed concern about whether dismissed faculty members had been treated with due process.