Council Resources

The reform of ecclesiastical studies of philosophy


Via della Pisana 1111 - 00163 Roma

The General Councillor for Formation


Rome, 31 March 2011
Prot. 11/0095

To Rev. Fr


To Rev. Fr
Provincial Delegate for Formation

Subject: The reform of ecclesiastical studies of philosophy

Dear Fr Provincials and Delegates,

                                                  On 22 March 2011 the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See published a Decree for the reform of the ecclesiastical studies of philosophy. You can find the text of the Decree in various languages on the Vatican site on the page relating to this Congregation in the section referring to the Roman Curia.

This Decree is of interest for all our Provinces: those which have an inter-province  Salesian centre of philosophical studies; those which have a province centre of Salesian philosophical studies; and those which send their postnovices to a non-Salesian centre of studies. We are all involved in understanding the new arrangements for philosophical studies, which can contribute to a better intellectual and pastoral preparation of our young confreres.

To better understand this Decree and to study its common and at the same time diversified implementation,  between 21 - 25 March  2012 at the “Salesianum” in Rome there will be a  Meeting of the Principals of Salesian Centres of Philosophical Studies and of those responsible for studies in the postnovitiate communities, where there in no Salesian centre. Included among these are the Principals of study centres aggregated and affiliated to the Faculty of Philosophy of the UPS and those centres whose affiliation is in progress.

This meeting is being organised by our Sector for Formation in collaboration with the Faculty of Philosophy of the UPS. It will form part of the process of evaluation of intellectual formation in the period of initial formation which is already in progress; it will include the involvement of the Congregation for Catholic Education; it will provide an opportunity for a discussion of the Encyclical “Fides et ratio”. In this way it will also be a meeting for the ongoing formation of those responsible for philosophical studies.

The meeting will begin on Wednesday afternoon  21 March and conclude at lunch on Sunday  25. The whole of Friday 23 March will consist in participation in a Congress on the relationship between anthropology and metaphysics entitled “The person: privileged locus for the encounter with being”  (“Fides et ratio”, n. 83). This Congress will be held at the UPS on the occasion of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Faculty of Philosophy.

The Decree on the reform of ecclesiastical studies of philosophy provides for its coming into effect in September 2012 or, for the southern hemisphere, at the beginning of the academic year 2013. We therefore have time to study together ways in which to implement the Decee which are consistent with the “Ratio”. It is therefore preferable to delay any changes to our curricula of studies until after the meeting in March 2012.

I would ask the Delegates for Formation to be good enough to send the names and e-mail addresses  of the Principals of  Salesian  centres of philosophical studies and of those responsible for studies in the postnovitiate communities to one of the collaborators of our Sector, Fr Chrys Saldanha or Fr Horacio Lopez, whose e-mail addresses are: and

While I assure you of my gratitude and esteem, I thank you for your collaboration. I take this opportunity to send you best wishes for a Happy and Holy Easter.

In Don Bosco,

Fr Francesco Cereda