April 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The administration of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) has announced that it is at an “impasse” in negotiations with the Vatican over the future of the university, which is under fire for deviating from its Catholic identity.
The Vatican has given the university a deadline of April 8 to comply with requirements for reestablishing Church oversight.
Although the PUCP’s administration reported Tuesday that it had the beginnings of an agreement with the Holy See, the university now says that the two institutions could not concur regarding the administration of the inheritance of José de la Riva-Agüero, which includes the highly valued land on which the university was built.
“In the last hours there has arisen an impasse regarding the Administrative Board of the Riva-Aguero inheritance,” the PUCP announced on its website today. “This has prevented us from reaching a proposal for a final agreement to be presented to the assembly.”
As LifeSiteNews reported in February, the university has long been at odds with the Archdiocese of Lima and the Vatican itself regarding its self-declared “autonomy” from Church oversight, as well as the pro-abortion, homosexualist ideologies espoused by large numbers of its professors and affiliated institutions.
The struggle over control of the university has spilled over into Peru’s courts, where the main issue is the inheritance of Riva-Agüero, who stipulated in at least one written will that his estate was to go for the support of a Catholic institution. Given the PUCP’s conflict with the Catholic Church, the rights of the PUCP over the estate of Riva-Agüero are no longer clear.
The impasse in the negotiations mean that the PUCP is unlikely to meet the Holy See’s deadline of April 8 to reform its statutes to bring itself into conformity with Church law, as outlined in the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
The document states that at Catholic Universities “all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
The same Constitution requires a majority of the faculty to consist of faithful Catholics, and mandates that the university provide students with “formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church.”
Such mandates are hard to swallow for a university that has long supported socialist ideologues whose worldview is contrary to Catholic teaching.
“The university supports the Church, but respects diversity. There are diverse ways of living Catholicism. We have a more social theology, and this is disliked in the most conservative sectors,” Marcial Rubio, the university’s rector, said last year as the conflict began.
“They want to intervene when it is believed that a professor doesn’t have a moral conduct that they consider correct,” the university’s Vice-Rector for Research, Pepi Patron Costa, told the BBC last year. “It is direct interference. For certain sectors of the Catholic Church we are not sufficiently Catholic.”
The students’ elected representatives who have sided with the administration in its struggle against the Archbishop of Peru and the Holy See, have also expressed their rejection of the proposed agreement.
Alonso Marañón, the student body’s elected representative in the governing University Assembly, said in a radio interview yesterday that provisions allowing a veto by Church authorities over changes to statutes regarding the university’s connection to the Church were unacceptable to him. “There, the autonomy of the university is is clearly violated,” he said.
He also rejected Church control over University resources. “We are going to talk to the professors and with the students, so that in the face of this new position, we reaffirm the defense of our autonomy, regarding which the University has already pronounced several times. It is necessary to be firm in defense of our autonomy,” said Marañón.
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage: