Peru University Loses Catholic Status

Statutes Not in Accord With Vatican Norms

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 23, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has withdrawn the titles of “Pontifical” and “Catholic” from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

The university, founded in 1917 and canonically erected by decree of the Holy See in 1942, has many times since 1967 unilaterally changed its statutes “with grave prejudice to the interests of the Church,” a Vatican statement declared.

The Vatican explained that starting in 1990 the university was asked on numerous occasions to bring its statutes into accord with the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (August 15, 1990), but that it has not complied with this request.

The university was the subject of an apostolic visit in December last year, and then in February this year the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcision Bertone, met with the university’s rector, Marcial Rubo.

Following the meeting the rector wrote two letters to Cardinal Bertone, in which he said it was not possible to carry out the Vatican’s requests.

“In light of such an attitude of the university, confirmed by other facts, the Holy See sees itself to be constrained to adopt the above-mentioned provision while stressing the duty of the university to submit to canonical legislation,” the Vatican statement explained.

The Holy See will continue to follow the evolution of the university’s situation, hoping that in the near future the competent academic authorities will reconsider their position with the aim of making a review of the present provision possible. The renewal requested by the Holy See will make the university more capable of responding to the task of bringing the message of Christ to man, to society and to cultures, according to the mission of the Church in the world.

Coming back 

The archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani asked that the staff of the university  “return to the path of its founders before reaching the 100 years of the University,” in a radio interview on Saturday.

“Trust the Holy Father and return to the path of its founders before reaching the 100 years of the University,” he said.

Cardinal Cipriani explained that the Church requirements are perfectly compatible with Peruvian legislation and are in accord with the agreement between the Holy See and Peru.

Finally, the archbishop of Lima lamented that in recent times there has been hostility on the part of the university toward the archdiocese.

“With sorrow I say that it has been a strategy of communication of the University to make this issue a matter of attack on a person, even at times wishing to divide the Episcopal Conference, and on other occasions, saying things that aren’t correct. I don’t know who and how these decision are made but it has been very painful over the last seven years; anything that I say is distorted and the reason for ferocious criticism,” he said.

“There are no winners or losers here," he concluded. "All dialogue and treatment of matters requires that truth be on the table."