The Anti-Pontifical Anti-Catholic University of Peru
By 1994, PCUP had "completely abandoned a Catholic identity," as Natale Amprimo, the attorney for the Archdiocese of Lima put it.
The dispute between the Church hierarchy and the independently-minded university came to a head with the efforts of the Cardinal Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani to exercise his rights over the university and to implement the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.
The governing body of the university refused to allow Cardinal Cipriani his rights, and sued the Archdiocese to prevent him from asserting them, but in June of this year, Peru's Constitutional Court ruled that the archdiocese had the right to appoint a member to the university's board of directors, and that the university had exceeded its authority in ignoring that right.
The leaders of the university have been recalcitrant, even vituperative in their response to the Vatican's recent moves. The rhetoric used by Catholic officials is highly anti-Catholic and anti-clerical. Of course, the words "academic freedom" and "autonomy" are bandied about. But as anyone knows, the words "academic freedom" and "autonomy" are particularly vague terms, and so are ideal terms with which a whole host of intellectual sins and sins against faith can be covered.
The Cardinal Archbishop Cipriani, who, under the governing instruments of the university is supposed to exercise control over the assets of the university and is to have some power of appointment, is accused of being money-hungry and power-hungry. Perhaps saving their worst insult of all, Archbishop Cipriani is accused of being "arch-conservative," and a member of Opus Dei to boot (egads!).
For example, the vice-rector of the university, Efraín Gonzales de Olarte, accused Cardinal Archbishop Cipriani of officious intermeddling, though he is doing nothing but implementing the requirements of the legal instruments of the university and the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Gonzales sees a sort of political conspiracy animated by the devious Opus Dei.
"Monsignor Cipriani," Gonzales noted, "is the most well-known cardinal of Opus Dei, and obviously everyone knows Opus Dei has a political agenda." Opus Dei, of course, denies having a political agenda. But in his feigned offense, Gonzales is a poseur, inasmuch as he wears his political motives, largely leftist, on his sleeves. Gonzales continued: "We think this is part of the plan they have. So of course the archbishop uses all of his influence to take control of this very good university."
The Cardinal Archbishop's efforts are hardly based upon political motives. As he put it in a recent radio interview on Radio Programas del Peru (RPP) where he addressed his motivations: "I would ask them in all humility, 'Do you identify with the Church? No? Then what are you doing in this university?'"
Natale Amprimo, Cipriani's lawyer, debunked the Opus Dei connection. "The idea that the cardinal (Cipriani) controls the Holy See's secretary of state, and controls the pope--they've created this whole fiction to try to justify what can't be justified," Amprimo told Reuters.
According to a report in the New York Times, the University President, Marcial Rubio cast the dispute as simply a power-play over who would control property. To a gathering of students, Rubio stated: "They've told us, 'Hand over your money and obey." He had no qualms in calling Fr.Luis Gaspar, a member of the ecclesiastical tribunal in Peru, a "terrorist against the university." In an interview to CNN en Español, Rubio stated that the "whole issue nothing more than an attempt of the Archdiocese of Lima to take control of the financial resources of the university."
But that is clearly not the dynamic motivating Rome. The university has consisted flouted Catholic values. For example, in 2002, it awarded an honorary degree to Gianni Vattimo, an Italian homosexual activist and postmodern nihilist philosopher, who, in his words "welcomes God's death." In 2012, it awarded an honorary degree to Gregorio Peces-Barba, a virulently anti-Catholic Spanish jurist and politician. It also publicly supported Father Gaston Garatea Yori, who was recently suspended from priestly ministry by the Cardinal Archbishop Cipriani for advancing positions regarding homosexual marriage and priestly celibacy contrary to the Catholic teaching and discipline, respectively. The university's sociology and political science departments are chronically pro-abortion and pro-same-sex "marriage." The university has clearly lost its sense of Catholic mission. It is wed to the spirit of the world, and no longer authentically pontifical or Catholic.
Seeking to preempt efforts at undermining the support of the Peruvian bishops, Cardinal Bertone, the Secretary of State for the Vatican, sent a letter to the president of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Salvador Piñeiro, asking that the bishops not allow the conference "to be used as an instrument by the rector's office of the university."
In response, Archbishop Salvador Piñeiro issued a statement in late July expressing its support of the Vatican decree and demanding that the university drop the use of both "Pontifical" and "Catholic."
What the university officials apparently have not learned is that the badge of being a "Pontifical" university, and the honor of being a "Catholic" university, are not rights, but privileges. They are legal graces, as it were, that can be lost by a lack of fidelity to the Church.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: PUCP, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Ex Corde Ecclesiae
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