MONTREAL (CNS) — The University of Montreal — Canada’s second-largest university — announced it will close its faculty of theology and transform it into an institute of religious studies embedded in the faculty of arts and sciences.

The university said that this new configuration, which will take effect May 1, will give academic support and administrative resources to the faculty to allow it to “deploy its full potential.”

The university’s rector, Guy Breton, said he believes this change will “better support the quest for knowledge and our contribution to society.”

The faculty of theology was among the three founding faculties of the University of Montreal in 1878. However, in recent years, there were talks of how to adapt or transform the faculty.

In July 2015, Jean-Marc Charron, acting dean, announced that the faculty of theology and religious sciences and the faculty of arts and sciences would study a restructuring.

In mid-November, he said the “new configuration of our team opens new promising perspectives.”

It is the second time in two years that a faculty of theology has closed in a major French Canadian university. In 2015, the University of Sherbrooke, east of Montreal, transformed its theology faculty into an academic center.

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Vaillancourt is editor in chief of Presence info in Montreal.