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Pontifical University in Peru rejects Vatican deadline

.- The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru says it refuses to comply with a Vatican deadline to reform its statutes until an unrelated legal dispute with the Archdiocese of Lima has been resolved.

As “of today there is no agreement on a comprehensive solution to the problems that exist,” the university announced on its website April 9.

The university rector notified the Apostolic Nunciature in Peru on Monday that it would not convene an assembly to approve the reforms which were demanded by the Vatican as a condition for maintaining its status as a Catholic and Pontifical institution.

The Vatican had given the school until April 8 – later extending the deadline to April 13 upon the university's request – to comply, which marked the first time the Holy See has set such a deadline for a school to reform.

University officials have been refusing to accept the Church’s guidelines for Catholic universities, which were laid out the papal document “Ex Corde Ecclesiae.” The apostolic constitution was promulgated in 1990 by Pope John Paul II to clarify what is expected of an authentically Catholic university.

An investigation of the university was carried out Dec. 5 -11, 2011 by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest, who found the Lima-based institution to be at odds with the Catholic Church in several significant areas of policy.

In an unrelated dispute, the school has pitted itself against the Archdiocese of Lima involving the wishes of Jose de la Riva-Aguero, a Catholic patron who donated the land where the university was built.

Riva-Aguero had stipulated in his will that the land would belong to the university as long as a representative of the Church was allowed a seat on its board of directors. The  university had defied a ruling by the Peruvian civil courts to give the Archdiocese of Lima a seat on its board of directors.

In their April 9 statement, officials blamed the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, for the failure to reach an agreement before the deadline. Officials said a “comprehensive solution” involving the administration of the university’s assets could not be reached, despite the issue having no relation to the Vatican reforms.

On April 4, the university suspended the meeting of the assembly scheduled for April 13, alleging that an “impasse” had surfaced regarding the administration of the inheritance left by Riva-Aguero. The assembly would be convened, they noted, “when there is a corresponding agreement” with the Church.

Peruvian newspaper El Comercio recently published an interview with Cardinal Cipriani which took place during Holy Week, where he lamented that the “rector wanted to link the issue of the Riva-Aguero estate with the situation of the university’s Catholic identity and statutes.” 

“This was not requested by Rome, those are not the statutes,” he emphasized. “That is a negotiation.”

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