Pope Francis, on 19 January, conferred the title of Pontifical Institute on the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. The news was welcomed by Fr. Rogerio Gomes, Moderator General of the Redemptorist academy, professors and students. We asked Fr Alfonso Amarante, CSsR, preside of the Alphonsian Academy, to comment on this fact:
The Holy Father has granted the Alphonsian Academy the title of ‘Pontifical’ Institute. What significance and consequences does this have for the Academy?
Fr. Alfonso Amarante: With the letter signed by Cardinal A. De Donatis, Grand Chancellor of the Lateran University (PUL), we have been informed that the Holy Father Francis, on his own initiative, granted on 16 January 2023, the title “Pontifical” to the three institutes ad instar Facultatis included in the PUL, namely: to the Higher Institute of Moral Theology “Alphonsian Academy”, to the Institute of Theology of Consecrated Life “Claretianum” and to the Patristic Institute “Augustinianum”. It was an unexpected but longed-for gift.
With the attribution of the title of Pontifical Institute to the Alphonsiana, the Holy Father, and the Dicastery for Culture and Catholic Education, the value of the scientific work that since 1949 our Redemptorist Congregation, according to Statute 023, has conducted in the field of moral theology as a true missionary apostolate to the growth of the Church, was clearly recognised. A first overt recognition had already arrived in 2019, from the then Congregation of Catholic Education, which had defined the Alphonsiana as a pole and “centre of excellence for the specialisation in moral theology”.
The importance of this title is remarkable because it puts the Institute of Moral Theology of our Congregation on a par with other university centres in Urbe. This will bring new possibilities of development for all our theology institutes around the world and will require us to always invest and watch over the quality of our apostolate in the field of moral theology. Further possibilities will be indicated to us shortly by the Superior Authorities of PUL and the Holy See.
What teaching and research opportunities does the Academy provide for its students? How does it differ from other moral theology courses offered by other institutions?
The Alphonsian Academy currently provides various educational offers. The first offer is the two-year specialised licence cycle and the three-year PhD cycle. Alongside these two cycles is the possibility of the post-doctoral research pathway, led by a number of lecturers who are experts in their field, the possibility of a licence and doctorate in moral sciences, which has degree status in many countries around the world.
Finally, the last possibility are the Higher Formation Courses such as the one that will start next 23 February on the Alphonsian moral proposal.
The Alphonsiana’s moral theological proposal is unique worldwide because all courses or “knowledge” are conceived, organised and developed with an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary methodology having moral reflection as its object as indicated by Optatam totius no. 16.
Another great characteristic of the educational offer proposed by the Alphonsiana is the focusing on the student who is the absolute creator of his or her study programme divided into areas.
Finally, I believe it is my duty to express my sincere thanks to all our religious family who, through their financial support and the support of persons, carry forward this apostolate which coincides perfectly with that of the Congregation (st. 023); to the various Moderators General who have always supported the Alphonsiana, to all the professors, particularly the Redemptorist ones, who have spent their entire lives in the service of this ministry and to the good God who guides and sustains us with his providence.
Thank you very much, Fr. Alfonso!