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Pontifical universities in Rome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pontifical university is a Catholic university established by and directly under the authority of the Holy See. It is licensed to grant academic degrees in sacred faculties, the most important of which are Sacred Theology, Canon Law, Sacred Scripture and Philosophy. Pontifical universities follow a European system of degrees in the sacred faculties, granting the baccalaureate, the licentiate, and the doctorate.

Independent institutions or individual faculties at non-pontifical universities may also be given charters by the Holy See to grant pontifical degrees, usually in one or two specific fields. These are referred to as a "pontifical faculty" or "pontifical institute" to distinguish it from an entire "pontifical university."

As defined by the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 815 Ecclesiastical universities or faculties, which are to investigate the sacred disciplines or those connected to the sacred and to instruct students scientifically in the same disciplines, are proper to the Church by virtue of its function to announce the revealed truth.

Can. 816 §1. Ecclesiastical universities and faculties can be established only through erection by the Apostolic See or with its approval; their higher direction also pertains to it.

§2. Individual ecclesiastical universities and faculties must have their own statutes and plan of studies approved by the Apostolic See.

Can. 817 No university or faculty which has not been erected or approved by the Apostolic See is able to confer academic degrees which have canonical effects in the Church.[1]

The Vicariate (diocese) of Rome has established an office for campus ministry and the pastoral care of students, the Office of Pastorale Universitaria. This office serves students at the pontifical universities as well as those enrolled at state universities.

Academic degrees

Like other theological faculties, pontifical universities divide studies into 3 cycles: the first cycle of varying duration, after which is obtained a Bachelor (Baccellierato), the second cycle leads to the conferment of a License degree (Licenza) and finally with the third level a Graduate degree (Dottorato) can be obtained. The duration of courses varies from university to university.

In Italy "degrees in theology and other ecclesiastical disciplines, conferred by a Faculty approved by the Holy See are recognized by the State" pursuant to art. 10/II of the 25 March 1985 n.21 Law (OJ No 28, April 10, 1985). However, no measures were taken designed to establish a priori the equivalence with the titles conferred by Italian universities. It is therefore not possible to predetermine a mandatory equivalence for qualifications issued by pontifical universities with those issued by state universities. Indeed, in Italy, constant changes make it very complex to unify a university curriculum with the problem of equality that must be resolved, at their request, from time to time by the relevant Ministry of Education, University and Research [1].


Pontifical universities in Rome have established faculties of Sacred Theology, of Civil Law and Canon Law or Utriusque iuris,[2] of Philosophy, of Biblical Sciences and Archeology, of Christian and classical literature, of Missiology, Education Science and Social Communication Sciences.


Pontifical universities in Rome accept students from around the world, whether clergy or laity. With special permission and motivated, even non-Christians may be admitted.

Students are normally classified into normal students,[3] extraordinary students [4] and guest students.[5]

Admission to courses of the Faculties or Institutes of a pontifical university may be conditional on the knowledge of Latin, Greek or other foreign languages.


The Pontifical Gregorian University.
The Pontifical Gregorian University.

Pontifical universities

In Rome, the following seven pontifical universities qualify with respect to Can. 815:[6] The Religious Order or other ecclesiastical body responsible for the administration of the university is listed in parentheses.

Pontifical Athenaea and Institutes

In Rome, the following institutes of higher education qualify with respect to Can. 814:[7]


  1. ^ Code of Canon Law, Chapter III, Book III. Vatican Archives. Accessed 01-29-10
  2. ^ Literally "both rights" or civil law (or Roman) and canon law. It must be borne in mind that this option meets the tradition of law in its traditional form before the codification of the 18th century when the Faculty of Law taught alongside theology the two great schools of legal thought: Canon law and Roman law
  3. ^ Ordinary students are those who are enrolled in a faculty, follow all the courses and qualify for an academic degree
  4. ^ Extraordinary students have a special permission of the Dean to attend classes regularly without aspiring to achieve an academic degree
  5. ^ Guest students can attend at the discretion of the Dean during the academic year or for a set time
  6. ^ The Pontifical Lateran University incorporates such advanced institutions as the School of Theology, the Alphonsian Academy, the Augustinian Patristic Institute and the Claretianum Institute of Theology of Consecrated Life
  7. ^ For completeness of information, a pontifical institute of higher learning which is the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy , a prestigious institution of the Catholic Church, takes care of the preparation of the priest for the service diplomacy of the Holy See of various nunciatures or in Secretary of State of the Holy See.

This page was last edited on 23 June 2019, at 13:32
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