Archbishop of Melbourne says 'small numbers of students' is forcing closure

The Archbishop of Melbourne has announced that he is closing the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

According to a report by the Catholic Weekly, Archbishop Denis Hart said the institute would remain open until the end of the academic year in 2018 so that current students could complete their studies.

In his letter to faculty members and students, Archbishop Hart said that the reason for the closure was the low number of students.

He wrote “For two years the Institute’s Council has become concerned at the small numbers of students at the Institute and the increasing financial burden placed on the Archdiocese of Melbourne as a result.

“Much discussion has followed concerning the future of the Institute. After careful discussion at the meeting on 25 October 2016, the Council resolved that the Melbourne Session, out of responsibility to the faculty and students, will maintain the Institute in operation until the end of 2018 so that students can complete their studies.

“For any students who do not complete by that time, discussion will take place concerning referral to another Institute.”

The institute was founded in 2001 by Fr Anthony Fisher, who is now Archbishop of Sydney.

The Melbourne institute has been led for more than a decade by Prof Tracey Rowland, who was appointed by the Holy See to its International Theological Commission in 2014.