.- An alumni group from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru urged the school to not cease discussions with the Church after it failed to meet a Vatican reform deadline.
In a statement released on April 11, the Riva Aguero University Association called on the rector of university to “maintain dialogue with church authorities” and warned that “the objectives” for which the school was founded “are at stake.”
The statement came after the university announced it would not convene a university assembly to reform its statutes – a move requested by the Vatican as a condition for keeping its title 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 an April 9 statement, university officials blamed the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, for the failure to reach an agreement before the deadline.
But the Riva Aguero University Association – which includes students, teachers and alumni among its members – said it was a “grave mistake” for university officials to link the issue of modifying the it's statues with the separate lawsuit with the Archdiocese of Lima.
While it acknowledged the willingness on the part of university officials to find a comprehensive solution, the association voiced regret that “recent statements by some members of the university assembly and the student body have not contributed to the creation of the kind of tranquil climate that is needed for dialogue.”
“Personal attacks should be set aside and steps should be taken towards calm conversations proper to a college environment,” it said.