Safeguarding expert to lead Rome’s new anthropology institute

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Fr. Hans Zollner. / Rebecski CC 4.0

Rome, Italy, Jul 2, 2021 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Safeguarding expert Fr. Hans Zollner S.J. will serve as the director of a new anthropology institute succeeding the Center for Child Protection in Rome.

The Pontifical Gregorian University announced Zollner’s appointment on July 1, two months after it said that the center would be transformed from a diploma program into an institute of anthropology, with its own faculty, and offering licentiates and doctorates.

The 54-year-old German Jesuit priest will begin a three-year term as director of the Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC) on Sept. 1.

The appointment was confirmed by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education and approved by Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, the university’s vice chancellor.

Zollner has served as president of the Center for Child Protection since 2015. A member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, he is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist.

The center was launched in 2012 to provide internet-based training to Catholics anywhere in the world on the protection of children from sexual abuse.

It was initially established in Germany by the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the State University Clinic of Ulm.

The center was officially launched in Rome in February 2015. In 2016, it began offering a one semester-long diploma course of 30 credits in the protection of minors through the university’s Institute of Psychology.

With the change to an institute, the IADC will offer the degrees of a licentiate in safeguarding and a doctorate in anthropology.

Zollner told CNA in April that the change would create an academic entity in its own right, no longer dependent on other universities to award degrees or lend professors.

“And equally important is that the name has changed,” he said, noting that the center could not continue to have only “child protection” in its name, “because the world and the Church have moved on from child protection only to other forms of abuse which need protection and safeguarding.”

He stressed that the institute’s primary focus would still be the protection of children from sexual abuse within the institutions of the Catholic Church, but choosing anthropology as the basis of the program offered “the broadest possible scope.”

“We have seen over the years that sexual abuse, sexual violence, is a human problem,” he said.

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  1. “We have seen over the years that sexual abuse, sexual violence, is a human problem” (Fr Hans Zollner SJ). That sexual abuse is viewed as a human problem rather than moral raises concern. As appointed director of an Anthropology Institute replacing the Rome Center for Child Protection is an added concern. Reason is the shift to Anthropology, a secular science that studies human societies and cultures and their development. Also defined in the Oxford Dictionary as the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and their evolution. Anthropology is legitimate [depending on the honesty of the scientist] though secular science that assumes behavior as perceived in the field defines the human species. Rather than a Christian anthropology that includes God’s creation and natural law. John Paul II envisioned a new Christ centered Christian anthropology holistic and complete. There isn’t any notice of Fr Zollner’s expertise in anthropology, for example academic and research credentials. Will it then be an on the fly excursion including participants with non Catholic perspectives as happened with the 1982 Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, renamed, original staff released, and ‘culturally’ diversified by Pope Francis as the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. Although this is speculation it has precedent and such a change of perspective from theological to the scientific if, for example, evolutionary theory replaces the historical moral perspective as scripturally revealed. That suggests Francis’ supposition that there mustn’t be divergence between science and religion, which is true. The rub is how we compare the sciences to our faith, for example on some of the Pontiff’s favorite issues, global warming, theoretical functional equanimity. What also comes to fore is the homosexual issues particularly on the adult level already seeming to gain acceptance within some Church circles. Painfully, we’ll have to wait and see. ​

    • Fr. Morello, you write: “What also comes to the fore is the homosexual issues particularly on the adult level already seeming to gain acceptance within some Church circles.”

      On the fly, as you speculate–Parolin’s New Paradigm of “anthropological cultural change”(?)–one can almost see the beautiful symbol for the World Meeting on Families (2022) morphing (from the arc of Bernini’s colonnade in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, see below) into an arced rainbow; and the red, blue and yellow family figures being joined by green and purple!

      Such devolution not intended, and not happening at the central event in Rome, surely, but open to exploitation at the invited local level (especially by Germania’s “synodal path”!)—with no one quite prepared to say then what a “family” IS and is NOT, you know, no visible evidence of on-the-spot “rigidity”. When LGBTQ themes were banned from the World Meeting in Dublin (2018), aggrieved partisans of Dublin Pride announced “We Are Family” as their 2018 theme…now to be piggy-backed (so to speak) on a Rome event?

      Instead of too-little-too-late, in “Church circles” at all levels, what clear precautions and explicit moral messages (not merely anthropological or scientistic fictions) will be built into the World Meeting of Families for 2022? Or will this be the infiltrated Cardinal Dolan St. Patrick’s Day Parade (in New York City) now on a global scale?

      The possibly victimized World Meeting on Families, here:

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