The new John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences will replace the original organisation founded in 1981

Pope Francis has announced the creation of a new Pontifical Institute for the study of marriage and the family to carry forward the work of the two recent synods and Amoris Laetitia.

In a motu proprio published Tuesday, the Vatican announced the new John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences will replace the original organisation founded by his predecessor in 1981.

The Pope said the recent synods on the family had brought a new awareness of the “new pastoral challenges to which the Christian community is called to respond”.

Changes in culture require “a diversified and analytical approach” that cannot be limited to the practices of the past.

Vatican Radio reports that the institute will instead explore the “lights and shadows of family life”, and explore Church teaching in a context where individuals are less supported than before by traditional family structures.

The new institute, which comes into effect immediately, will continue to be part of the Pontifical Lateran University, and work closely with the Pontifical Academy for Life and the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

It will offer students courses leading to a diploma, license or doctorate in marriage and family studies.