Pope Benedict XVI's Sinks His Teeth Into the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
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 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: Cardinal Bertone, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
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