Vatican Gives Deadline to Peru University

Meeting Held with Cardinal Bertone

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical University of Peru has been asked by the Vatican to amend its statutes as soon as possible so as to conform to the requirements of the Church for Catholic universities.

The formal request was made at a meeting between the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Marcial Rubio Correa, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).

The meeting follows the Dec. 5-11 visit to the Lima university by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest. 

According to the statement issued by the Vatican press office, Cardinal Bertone told the university's rector "that the statutes of the PUCP be regularised as soon as possible, adapting them to the Apostolic Constitution 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae' for the good of the PUCP itself and of the Church in Peru."

The university was told to submit the revised statutes by Easter Sunday, April 8, incorporating the amendments previously communicated to them last July 16.

"Finally, Cardinal Bertone expressed the hope that the academic community would accept these indications, so that the PUCP may increasingly dedicate itself to its mission of offering young people a solid formation, rooted in faithfulness to the Magisterium, as a guarantee of the great contribution the university is called to make to the country," the press office statement concluded.

Pontifical status

The PUCP was founded as a church-based institution in 1917 and was granted pontifical status in 1942.

Last year the archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, pointed out that the university statutes of 1956 obliged it to act in accordance with the laws of the Church and to obey the Holy See.

In 1990 John Paul II issued the Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae and all Catholic universities were asked to revise their statutes in accordance with it.

Not only has the PCUP not done this but, following a 2010 decision by the Constitutional Court of Peru that acknowledged the right of the Archdiocese of Lima to have a seat on the university's board of directors, the university has refused to abide by this decision.

The university was also ordered to acknowledge the Archdiocese of Lima's right to elect the university rector from among three candidates proposed by the university assembly.

Then, on Sept. 23, 2011, the university assembly, led by Rubio, formally voted to refuse to comply with the request by the Vatican to adapt its statutes in accordance with the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. 

If the university were to refuse the latest request by the Holy See it could lose its status as a pontifical university and also its title of being a Catholic institution. This could affect its ability to continue operating, as under the terms of the will through which its current property was donated, if it ceases to be a Catholic university the land reverts to the Archdiocese of Lima.