Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

7/24/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A catholic University should be... Catholic

The university has not understood its Catholic and Pontifical duties.  It has turned its back on the Catholic and Magisterial light, sadly necessitating what is an unprecedented move in the history of the Church.  Though long in coming, it shows that Pope Benedict XVI has teeth.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/24/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in College & University

Keywords: Cardinal Bertone, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Drawing from the beautiful First Chapter of the Gospel of John, the motto of the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is Et lux in tenebris lucet--and the light shines in the darkness.  (John 1:5)  It appears, however, that the university has not been true to its motto and the darkness has won out, at least for now.

After more than 20 years of unsuccessful yet patient efforts on the part of the Roman curia to have the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru abide by the norms of the Apostolic Constitution Ex Cordis Ecclesiae issued in 1990, Pope Benedict XVI has finally been compelled by an intransigent institution to issue a significant sanction.  As of July 21, 2012, Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, under mandate received from Pope Benedict XVI, decreed that the university may no longer call itself Pontifical and may no longer call itself Catholic.  The decree was delivered to the current rector of the university, Marcial Rubio Correo.

It is one of those unpleasant but necessary disciplines.

There is a certain irony in the university's motto.  The university has been a hotbed of so-called Liberation Theology, including among its teachers at one time the infamous Gustavo Gutierrez, the priest frequently considered the founder of the Liberation Theology movement.  As it seems to have moved from orthodoxy and settled into heterodoxy, it has moved from light into dark, and its motto seems to have moved with it.  From et lux in tenebris lucet--and the light shines in the darkness--it has moved to the next words of St. John's Gospel: et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt-and the darkness did not understand it.  (John 1:5)

The university has not understood its Catholic and Pontifical duties.  It has turned its back on the Catholic and Magisterial light, sadly necessitating what is an unprecedented move in the history of the Church.  Though long in coming, it shows that Pope Benedict XVI has teeth.

The university is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Latin America.  It was founded in 1917 with the ecclesiastical approval of the then Archbishop of Lima, Pedro Manuel García y Naranjo.  In 1942, the university was given canonical status under the Code of Canon Law, thereby subjecting itself to the jurisdiction of the Roman curia. 

Since 1967, however, the university has changed its internal statutes in ways that were inconsistent with its mission as a Catholic institution.  Since the late 1960s, the administration of the university has gotten progressively more recalcitrant.  It has rejected guidance of the Church, has been the hotbed of Liberation Theology, and it has actually worked against the interests of the Church and her Magisterium

To say the least, it is highly inconsistent--even deceptive--for an institution to call itself "Pontifical" and "Catholic" and work against the Catholic Church and her Pontiff.  In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI's move is welcome. 

Pope Benedict XVI's recent act is an implementation of reforms put in place by his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II.  Faced with Catholic universities that were progressively untrue to their founding purpose and progressively inimical to the Catholic Church which gave them birth, Pope John Paul II decided to do something about it.

On August 15, 1990, the Holy See issued the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which required that all Catholic universities that were subject to canonical legislation adapt their internal statutes to the norms of that Apostolic Constitution.  "It is the honor and responsibility of a Catholic University," Ex Corde Ecclesiae said, "to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth."  ECE, 4.  Ex Corde Ecclesiae was a "sort of 'magna carta'" whose purpose it was to provide basic principles of what should be the vision of a Catholic University. 

Ex Corde Ecclesiae identified four characteristics of an authentically Catholic university: (1) it must be of Christian inspiration, (2) it must continually reflect on the treasury of human knowledge "in the light of the Catholic faith," (3) it must be faithful "to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church," and (4) it must be institutionally committed "to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life."  ECE, 13.  To the end of assuring these characteristics, the Apostolic Constitution issued some general norms that were enforceable under canon law.

Since the promulgation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the history of relations between the Holy See and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru has been one of chronic disobedience by the governing authorities of that educational institution.  Its governing bodies have been unfaithful to the original foundation and to the vision of the donors, and they have steered that institution to one that actively works against, and not in service to, the faith and morals of the Catholic Church.

Under current statutes of the university, the local Archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, is the Grand Chancellor of the institution.  When he tried to exercise his authority over the institution, he was sharply rebuffed, necessitating the involvement of the Roman Curia.

Over the last decades, the university's governing bodies have been equally deaf to the overtures of the Roman curia.  Most recently, the university's governing assembly refused to recognize the warnings sent from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.  In 2011, the Congregation sent a letter to Rector Marcial Rubio outlining the various ways that the university's statutes had to be changed to conform to the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae.  The internal governing body of the university, the University Assembly, refused to conform to the requests. 

The Secretary of State for the Vatican then became involved.  Despite an apostolic visit and audit handled by Peter Cardinal Erdö on behalf of the Vatican Secretary of State, and despite numerous efforts to reach an amicable agreement, no reconciliation seemed possible.  A final deadline for the university to conform itself to the requirements of canon law passed on April 8, 2012.  Subsequent warnings went unheeded by the university.

Instead--based upon a false understanding of academic freedom--the Peruvian university showed its intent to act against the mission of the Church and to guide "its institutional initiatives according to criteria that are incompatible with the discipline and morals of the Church," said the decree issued by Cardinal Bertone.

So, after a series of decades-long efforts on the part of Church authorities--rebuffed each time by the university officials--the Church had no choice but to issue its sanctions.

So ends the history of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.  Not with a bang, but a whimper.

While the institution cannot use the titles Pontifical or Catholic, the Secretary of State insisted that the Church still retained jurisdiction over the structure and institution itself.  We hope that there may still be the possibility of reconciliation.

It would behoove the university officials to read the opening chapter of Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ which begins with reference to the same chapter in the Gospel of John referred to in the university's motto:

"'He who follows Me, walks not in darkness,' says the Lord (John 8:12).  By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart.  Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ."

"The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna.  Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ.  Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ."

"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity?  Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God.  I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it.  For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?  Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone."

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More College & University

Christian students in U.S. not allowed to speak to other students without permits Watch

Image of Christian liberties denied at North Carolina State University (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a move reminiscent of the early 1900s, North Carolina State University segregated a student Christian group from the rest of the student population. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grace Christian Life is a registered student Christian group on NC State's ... continue reading


Benedict XVI Centre approved by Holy See, but what will they be doing there? Watch

Image of The center will focus on religion and social sciences (CDJ).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

St. Mary's University in Twickenham, London has been formally approved to name one of their buildings after Benedict XVI. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to its website, St. Mary's University will name one of their buildings the Benedict XVI Centre for ... continue reading


Alarming University campaign threatens First Amendment rights Watch

Image of The University of Portland asks students to report discrimination, interactions of intolerance and incidents of discomfort (Stefan Redel/Shutterstock.com).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The University of Portland recently launched a "Speak Up" campaign designed to put an end to discrimination, intolerance and "incidents of discomfort." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The University's Speak Up website specifies inclusion is a top priority - one ... continue reading


Comparing some students to 'Catholic jihadis,' Mount St. Mary University president comes under fire Watch

Image of Mount St. Mary University President Simon Newman said in a memo,

By Adelaide Mena and Matt Hadro, CNA News

Amid uproar over comparing struggling students to bunnies that should be drowned or shot, Mount St. Mary's University president is now under fire for criticizing expressions of the Catholic faith at the school. Emmitsburg, Md. (CNA) - Already facing turmoil, the ... continue reading


The fight for religious liberty: How one Catholic college deals with threats Watch

Image of

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

The future of religious freedom in the United States will one day be in the care of today's college students, so one Catholic college is working to equip them for that struggle. Washington D.C., (CNA/EWTN News) - Wyoming Catholic College is trying to form a "community ... continue reading


4 reasons Catholic education needs your help this year Watch

Image of Are America's Catholic schools being attacked? (Wordpress)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic education system is coming under attack by a plethora of policies designed to make the hiring process, acceptance of anti-Christian viewpoints, transgender issues and Catholic identity concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Cardinal Newman ... continue reading


Catholic identity or education: Are the top Catholic universities falsely rated by secular standards? Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A list of the top 40 traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America was created, but were they rated fairly? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Newsmax revealed their top forty Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America, but what were their standards?The United ... continue reading


Becoming Divine Mercy: A Mission of Mercy Watch

Image of

By Jessie Tappel, Communications Director at Divine Mercy University

God, the source of all mercy, provides us with an experience so great that we have no choice but to reflect it to our own brother and sister. Mercy calls for an outward response, which is made clear in the examples of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. You can ... continue reading


UST Breaks Ground on New Center for Science and Health Professions Watch

Image of

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions on Nov. 12, 2015. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet ... continue reading


Religion and Science: The Evolutionary Controversy

Image of

By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College

Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact marshconnolly@catholiconline.email Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading


All College & University News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Advent Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jude 1:17, 20-25
17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2016 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret ... Read More