On 17th January 2024, the English Section of the Faculty of Theology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw witnessed the defense of the doctoral dissertation entitled: “The Blessed Virgin Mary as a Model of Moral Virtue according to the Teachings of the Popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis”, written by the Rev. Fr. Polycarp Opio, a priest of the diocese of Lira, Uganda.
This research work is an attempt to contribute to the moral discussion going on in the universal Church, but in particular in the Church in Africa. Fr. Opio presents the virtues of holiness, fortitude, chastity, patience etc. of the Blessed Virgin Mary as guidelines for our modern world. The title is apt for our time, in which critical moral issues are under serious scrutiny. The dissertation attempts to re-emphasize for our present time, especially in Africa, how the model of the Blessed Virgin Mary can help to re-ignite good moral life, beginning from family.
According to Fr. Opio, it is important to emphasize that if the family gets it right, the society will be good, but if the family gets it wrong, the society will suffer negative effects. Taking the discussion further, he argues that John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis extolled the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary to address the moral issues that plagued the times of their pontificates, including the most recent moral issues in our time. The recent Popes emphasize the need to look up to Mary if the world, especially the family, regarded as a domestic church where everyone receives the first moral upbringing and nurturing, should develop in a right way.
In conclusion, having successfully presented his research work and adequately responded to the questions of the Reviewers, Fr. Opio has received from the Faculty Council the grade of Doctor in Sacred Theology.