Lawyer says Pontifical University can't control who represents Church

The attorney for the Archdiocese of Lima, Natale Amprimo, said Peru's Pontifical Catholic University has no right to tell the Vatican it must replace Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani as the negotiator between the Church hierarchy and university officials, as rector Marcial Rubio is requesting.

As controversy continues over the university's refusal to follow Vatican directives, Rubio sent a letter on May 9 to the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

In the letter, Rubio argues that the removal of Cardinal Cipriani as negotiator is “the only way to achieve the full peace that the University and the Peruvian bishops desire.”

As one of several moves that has caused concern among Vatican officials, the university had defied a ruling by the Peruvian civil courts to give the Archdiocese of Lima a seat on its board of directors.

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.

University officials have been refusing to comply with 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.

The Vatican had given the school until Easter 2012 to comply with the Church’s requirements for Catholic colleges, marking the first time the Holy See has set a deadline for a university to reform. However, the university has yet to fully comply, arguing that an unrelated dispute with the archdiocese over property rights is delaying the process.

In remarks to CNA, Amprimo criticized Rubio over the ongoing controversy, saying the “only thing left is for the University to say that it gets to decide who represents the Church in Peru.”

Amprimo lamented that the rector has described Cardinal Cipriani as a troublemaker and has accused him of offending the Pontifical University. The truth, he argued, is that university officials “do not want to modify anything, they don’t want to regularize their situation.” 

“Rather, they wish to continue looking for a way to validate an irregular situation.”

Rubio, who said Cardinal Bertone has not responded yet to his previous letter from April 13, said a “comprehensive” solution to both the conflict over the university’s statutes and the lawsuit with the Archdiocese of Lima over the administration of the property donated by Jose de la Riva Aguero should be the goal.

The archdiocese has repeatedly rejected this proposal and has argued that the issues are separate. One refers to the modification of the university’s statutes and the other to how to interpret the wishes of Riva Aguero, who wanted the Church to be able to have control over the land he donated to the university under certain circumstances.

This last point has not been accepted by university officials, even though Peru’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the Archdiocese of Lima.

Amprimo said she believes Rubio is trying to confuse the public. “Instead of giving a clear and transparent explanation, the PCUP only offends and insults. When there is doubt, a resolution comes from clarifying things. 

“It is very pretentious of them to say to the Holy See who should represent it and who the Cardinal of Peru should be.”

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