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Catholic University of Peru reaches agreement with Vatican to recover pontifical status

October 25, 2016

The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) has reached an agreement with the Vatican to regularize the institution’s status, ending years of conflict.

Since 1969, the PUCP has been governed by an internal assembly: an arrangement that the Vatican has never approved or accepted. Following unsuccessful Vatican efforts, since 1990, to prod the university to rewrite its statutes in accordance with St. John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then the Vatican’s Secretary of State, issued a decree in 2012 declaring that the university may no longer use the titles “pontifical” and “Catholic.” (The university nonetheless continued to identify itself as the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.)

Pope Francis announced his intention to seek a mutually acceptable agreement with the PCUP assembly, and in 2014 the Pope appointed a panel of three cardinals, led by Cardinal Peter Erdo, to seek a “final, consensual solution.” The Pope also asked Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, who had clashed repeatedly with PUCP leaders, to step aside from his post as Grand Chancellor of the university. In September the PUCP announced a preliminary agreement with the Vatican, and now that agreement has been ratified by the school’s ruling assembly.

The accord stipulates that PUCP’s rector will be appointed by the university’s assembly—not by any ecclesiastical authority—although bishops will participate in the assembly’s discussions and the rector’s appointment must be confirmed by the Vatican.

The agreement with Rome does not affect a lawsuit in which Cardinal Cipriani has charged that PUCP violated the terms of its primary benefactor, who had stipulated in his bequest that the university should be governed by a “perpetual administrative board” on which the Archbishop of Lima held the controlling authority. That legal case is still pending before Peruvian courts.

 
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