Former prof laments ‘destruction’ of Rome’s John Paul II Institute
ROME, August 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A respected psychiatrist and now former professor at the John Paul II Institute in Rome is speaking out about the recent controversy surrounding the institute, calling it a “terrible suppression” and “destruction” of a world-renowned academic community.
Dr. Monika Grygiel, daughter of Stanislaw Grygiel — a Polish philosopher, great friend of Pope John Paul II, and until recently, a professor at the JPII in Rome — has said the “violence” with which the “abolition” of the institute was carried out is “something unheard of in academia.”
In a front page article she authored for the July 31 edition of the Italian daily, Il Foglio, Dr. Grygiel also said the newly-styled institute has been built on “the injustice of dismissals, on non-existent, totally questionable or even defamatory grounds.”
Dr. Grygiel’s article appeared under the title: “The suppression of the project wanted by Wojtyla and the clumsy attempt to bury the truth,” and continued on page 4 under a second headline: “The Wojtyla Institute is suppressed, the new is built on sand.”
Here below we publish an English translation of the full article by Dr. Monika Grygiel.
We are witnesses of what we cannot experience except as a terrible suppression of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II, and as an attempt to erase, even with untrue information, what this great academic family has been and has represented for almost forty years of its existence. The destruction of a university institute of world renown and of high scientific, religious and human profile, will not erase the memory of a history imprinted in thousands of people around the world and rooted in the teaching of the Church and St. John Paul II, Pontiff of the Holy Roman Church.
There would be many considerations to make and truths to underline. I will dwell on one, which as a psychiatrist and at this point former professor of the institute, touches me in particular. It is presented, for example by Don Pagazzi in the Osservatore Romano, as a great novelty of the new institute John Paul II, the insistence on the church-family relationship. Thus, it is thought to cover up the truth of what was taught and to justify a presumed precedence of human science over theology.
It must be said, first of all, that the extinct John Paul II Institute had developed the ecclesiology of the family. Let us think of prominent teachers such as Cardinal Scola, with his approach to the nuptial mystery, or to Cardinal Ouellet, who insisted so much on the link between marriage, the Eucharist and the Church. Both saw in the “family-church” bond an essential element of “Christian ontology.” And think also of the different courses offered in recent years by Professor Melina on the ecclesial place of conscience, or by Prof. Diriart on the states of life in the Church or marriage in ecclesial communion.
Don Pagazzi also writes about the need for the Church not to detach itself from the flesh of the world. The Church, according to him, “will succeed to the extent that it does not detach itself from its flesh, that is to say, from the ties with people and things that constitute the story of every family (even the most complicated) and of all reality.” I fully agree with him, but I also think that the preference which he maintains will be given to the human sciences, will only make sense if something more original is not forgotten: the Church will succeed in its task to the extent that it does not detach itself from the flesh of Christ, which contains within itself the fulfillment of every original language of the flesh. The Church will be faithful to the family only if she is faithful to Christ. The human heart, and therefore the bonds it weaves in life, are, if we look at them in their truth, the incarnation of the Father's primordial plan.
Precisely in relation to the concreteness of the flesh, it is disconcerting to see how in the new plans of study, although not yet very clear, courses have been cancelled, among many others, in Psychology on relational dynamics in the family, on generativity, the one on paternity and even an innovative project, born out of the request of the students themselves, of Psychology laboratory for priests entitled “Alongside the lives of families.”
These brief lines show how, in reality, the question of the abolition of the John Paul II Institute does not consist in a new look, but rather concerns the violence with which it was carried out something unheard of in academia. How can one build a Church “not detached from ties with people” on the injustice of dismissals, on non-existent, totally questionable or even defamatory grounds? Or on the imposition on already enrolled students, at the end of July, of a curriculum, which does not even respect the statutes in force, and an almost entirely new teaching staff, of which the students were not aware at the time of enrollment?
Those who will be called to teach at the new Institute, in a situation presented as “exceptional,” and therefore appointed teacher without the collegial opinion of the other professors and without the process [concorso] provided for by the current statutes, will have to decide whether to believe in the dignity of university work, freedom of thought and the family essence of the Church or to participate in the “exceptional” imposition of power on the common search for truth.
Those who have built a family, or other bonds, who experience the Church and Christ as an experience of family experiences and the bonds of love, well know the difference between foundations built on sand and those, instead, that respect the identifying structure, the true heart of a home.
Dr. Monika Grygiel is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and a former professor at the John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family. Translation from the Italian by Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews.