ROME - The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is awarding an honorary doctorate to Kiko Argüello, one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way. The institute, situated at Rome's Lateran University with other locations around the world, announced that on May 13 it will invest as doctors "Honoris Causa" both the Spanish founder, Francisco (Kiko) Argüello, and an Italian sociology professor, Pierpaolo Donati.
A statement from the institute notes that the contributions of both men to the field of family studies are valued as "authoritative references for its own teaching and research work."
The institute underlined "the strong commitment of the Neocatechumenal Way on family issues" by its emphasis on "the experience of the 'domestic celebration' with which it sends families on a mission."
It also pointed out the value of the lay group's "promotion, together with other ecclesiastical organizations, of major initiatives in support of the family," especially the "Family Day in Italy and the 2007 Feast of the Holy Family in Madrid."
Donati, the other doctorate recipient, is a professor from the University of Bologna, and was named by the institute as "one of the top experts in the world of family sociology."
The institute stated that Donati has made a valuable contribution to building "a humanistic sociology that distances itself from all forms of scientific reductionism and cultural relativism," with a particular criticism of the functionalist and Marxist approaches.
It added, "From this [arises] the idea of relational sociology," Donati's "original and fruitful creation: from this perspective, the family is not a simple sum of individuals or an organic body, but a set of vital relations."