Catholic university students studying bible sitting together on bench outside

Understanding the Human Person in Terms of Love

The Institute is devoted to the study of the truth about the human person in all of its dimensions: theological, philosophical, anthropological, and cosmological-scientific. In light of John Paul II’s realization that without love man is incomprehensible to himself (Redemptor Hominis, 10), the Institute centers its study of the person in the original community of human society: marriage and family. Nuptiality opens the person to the truth of love, and from this, unlocks the truth of all reality.

Why Study at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute?

1. We continue the intellectual legacy of John Paul II.
1. We continue the intellectual legacy of John Paul II.

Pope John Paul II founded the Institute upon the idea that there is a reciprocal in-dwelling between anthropological reflection and reflection on marriage.
“The truth about man is the way to know the truth about marriage; the truth about marriage is the way to know the truth about man. Reflection on marriage is the crossroads where all these issues meet: the truth of love and sexuality, the truth of freedom, the truth of the genealogy of the person, and of human society” (Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Graduation Address to the Washington Session, May 10, 2016).

2. We study in fidelity to the Church’s tradition.
2. We study in fidelity to the Church’s tradition.

We are committed to the whole of the theological tradition in fidelity to the magisterium, avoiding the fragmentation caused by extreme progressivism or rigid traditionalism. We believe that the aim of a genuine theological education is to receive the tradition in a prayerful receptivity, drawing on what is true, good, and beautiful, while embracing authentic development in the Church. We also engage the works of the Western tradition and of our own age so that we may understand man in his concrete situation and bring the wisdom of the Church’s tradition to the contemporary questions of our culture.

3. Our educational mission is centered on love of the human person.
3. Our educational mission is centered on love of the human person.

In contrast to our culture that tends to minimize education to a mere transfer of data, an authentic pedagogy requires both student and teacher to enter into a community in pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. We strive to offer a theological education that is dedicated, in both content and form, to the truth of the human person, who is made for communion with both God and man.

4. At A Glance
4. At A Glance

The Washington D.C. session was founded as the first international chapter of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.


The Institute’s student-faculty ratio allows for one-on-one mentorship and encourages community among students united in a life-giving mission.


A high percentage of our full-time students receive scholarships from the Institute through the generosity of the Knights of Columbus.

previous arrow
next arrow

Featured Faculty

Nicholas Healy portrait

Nicholas Healy

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Culture
M.T.S. Program Advisor
Dr. Healy teaches and writes in the area of metaphysics, theological anthropology, and sacramental theology. Since 2002 he has served as an editor of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review. He is a founding member of the Academy of Catholic Theology.
Michael Hanby portrait

Michael Hanby

Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy of Science
Dr. Hanby is author of No God, No Science?: Theology, Cosmology, Biology (Wiley-Blackwell 2013) which reassesses the relationship between the doctrine of creation, Darwinian evolutionary biology, and science more generally. He is also author of Augustine and Modernity (Routledge 2003).
Rev. Antonio López, F.S.C.B.

Antonio López, F.S.C.B.

Vice President
Professor of Systematic Theology
Rev. López teaches and writes in the areas of trinitarian theology, metaphysics, theological anthropology, and marriage. He serves as editor of Humanum Academic Press and of the English Critical Edition of the Works of Karol Wojtyła and John Paul II, a continuing series from CUA Press.
Margaret Harper McCarthy

Margaret Harper McCarthy

Associate Professor of Theological Anthropology
Dr. McCarthy's teaching and writing focuses on various themes belonging to theological anthropology relative to the question of sexual difference (the imago Dei, equality, experience, feminism, the nature of love), but also relative to the nature-grace question (Christocentrism, predestination, the relation between the church and the world).
Joseph Atkinson portrait

Joseph C. Atkinson

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture
S.T.L. and S.T.D. Program Advisor
Dr. Atkinson’s work has included foundational research in developing the biblical and theological foundation of the family. He is a primary authority on the concept of the Domestic Church, which explores the ecclesial structure and meaning of the family. He teaches on the biblical structure and meaning of marriage and the family, on the Jewish background of the family, and on the nature and role of covenant.

Peter Martin

S.T.L. ’10

Director of the Office of Life, Marriage & Family and Communications, Diocese of Winona-Rochester

“Having this great network of friends and colleagues who have also studied at the Institute allows me to find ways to care for the needs of the people in the Diocese in a way that respects the dignity of the person and their vocation to love.”

Institute Publications

Humanum Review - Issues in family, culture & science

Humanum Review: Issues in Family, Culture, and Science

An online journal, Humanum is about the human: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and what does not. We sift through the competing ideas of our age so that we might “hold fast to what is good.”

Humanum Academic Press

Humanum Academic Press

HAP offers contemporary scholarship in metaphysics and philosophical and theological anthropology. The focus is on works that deepen the teaching of the Second Vatican Council or develop a theology and an anthropology of love in light of pivotal thinkers, including Wojtyła, Ratzinger, Guardini, and von Balthasar.

Apply Now

All application materials for the fall semester are due by January 20 for first-round consideration.
After the January deadline, admissions continue on a rolling basis for the spaces that remain available.
You may apply online or download an application and send with supporting documents to the Office of Admissions.