Catholic institute eyes sacred theology program

The Catholic Theological Institute (CTI) is a step closer to be able to offer a Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB) granted by the University of Santo Tomas, the Philippines, after signing an affiliation agreement.

In an official gathering between representatives of CTI and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Thursday, 23rd January, the documents, namely the ‘Affiliation Agreement’ and the ‘Norms to be Observed’, were signed in triplicate copies by Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC, Pro-Chancellor of CTI and Rev. Dr. Joseph Vnuk OP, President of CTI.

However, the affiliation is not official until approved by the Congregation of Education - the pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for Catholic universities, faculties and institutes of higher study. 

This ceremony marks that UST is sponsoring CTI’s petition to the Congregation of Education for affiliation. The STB follows the universal requirements set by the Congregation and qualifies a graduate for further studies in any ecclesiastical university.

In his welcome speech, Rev. Vnuk told of how CTI had been seeking for a number of years to have its degrees approved by UST and how it had undergone many changes to meet UST’s standards.  

“The signing indicates that UST recognises that CTI has met those standards and that CTI is prepared to maintain those standards and to meet its obligations to UST. With this affiliation, we are able to train more and more people for teaching positions so that one day, CTI will be run primarily by local priests and religious and will move up to accrediting higher degrees,” he said.  

“Over time like the Philippines, PNG will produce a fully-fledged faculty here for the Church and for the glory of God. I am grateful for the path that the UST has shown us, and I pray this partnership will last a long time.”

Representing UST were Rev. Dr. Jannel N Abogado OP, Regent of Studies of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, Rev. Dr. Florentino Bolo Jr, OP, Director, UST Institute of Religionand Mr Leo-Martin Angelo Ruiz Ocampo, Academic Collaborations Officer, UST.

In his remarks, Rev. Dr. Jannel N Abogado OP said the affiliation was an essential aspect to improving the formation of clergy and the local church. He called for CTI to take full advantage of the benefits of the collaboration with UST in pressing forward the affiliation process.  

Cardinal Ribat described the signing as the end of one long and challenging journey and the start of another for CTI in its unwavering efforts toward achieving affiliation with UST.  

“For this signing to happen at this point in time, it took 13-years of constant pursuit that was a combined and dedicated effort from everyone. We thank UST for this opportunity, and with this help we have been given, we will build upon it,” he said.

The special occasion was graced by the presence of Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, His Excellency Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal;hair of CTI Governing Council,p Donald Lippert;egent of Studies of the Dominican Province of Philippines, Rev. Dr Jannel N Abogado OP; Director of UST Institute of Religion, Rev. Dr Florentino Bolo OP; PNG MSC Provincial, Rev. John Willio; PNG, Australia, and SI Dominican Provincial, Rev. Anthony Walsh; Catholic Bishops Conference General Secretary, Fr Giorgio Lucini PIME; Priests, Religious Sister, seminarians and laity.

(After the signing of affiliation agreements by Fr Joseph Vnuk and Cardinal John Ribat)

Press release