Rorate Caeli

New episodes in the Peruvian telenovela "La universidad del diablo"
In historic move, Vatican slams Episcopal Conference

The historic action of the Vatican to bring some order to the ex-Pontifical ex-Catholic University of Peru (the former PUCP - see first post) is a gift that keeps on giving. La Stampa's Andrés Beltramo Álvarez reports that, when the Vatican decree removing the titles from the name of the University was handed by the local Nuncio (Pennsylvanian Archbishop James Green) to several authorities on Friday, the document was accompanied by a specific letter to the University rector and, which is more impressive, by a specific letter to the President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, to be forwarded to each bishop in the country.

Because in fact the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, had spent the last few years almost isolated by his own peers and undermined by most members of the Episcopal Conference in his efforts to rein in and put under control the rebellious university. As Beltramo reports:

The Peruvian Episcopal Conference must not be manipulated by the "rebellious university". On the contrary, [the Conference] is called to lend "determined and clear" support to the determinations of the Holy See in the dispute for the legitimate property of the institution, until yesterday Pontifical and Catholic. This is the center of a letter sent by the Vatican to the President of the South American country's bishops, Salvador Piñeiro. A harsh wake-up call, in order to cease with the ambiguities and the foul play.

... Green ordered that all three documents, including the letter to Piñeiro, be sent to all the bishops in the country. He received the authorities of the PUCP later in the Nunciature, and delivered to them the decree and the letter.

The message from Rome to the Archbishop of Ayacucho-Huamanga [Abp. Piñeiro] left little room for doubts: "For the good of the University and for the responsibility of the Church in the educational field, this Episcopal Conference must support the position of the Holy See and of the Archbishop of Lima, disavowing vigorously any opposing intervention and inviting the country's episcopate to a loyal collegial action. In case of eventual doubts, you and the other bishops please be kind enough to consult with the Rev. Nuncio in Lima."

And it added: "The Holy Father expects that, in the future, the Episcopal Conference will render determined and clear support to the decisions taken by the Holy See regarding the situation of the PUCP, and that new misunderstandings and divisions be avoided."

The severity of the words left clear that, instead of keeping an institutional position, the direction of the bishops sided with the center of studies during the disputed. Even when the rebellion of its authorities was open and manifest.

This was made clear on April 17, when the Conference published a public note in the name of its five delegate bishops of the University Assembly of the PUCP. ... This episode was called "regrettable" by the Vatican letter to Piñeiro, which was blunt: "I ask you to take care that this Episcopal Conference avoid being manipulated by the rectorate of the university."

Today, in declarations to the local press, the Rector of the Universidad del Diablo was defiant:

The rector of the PUCP, Marcial Rubio, called the decision of the Vatican of stripping the center of studies of the titles of "pontifical" and "Catholic" regrettable ... . ...

"This is our official name, and we are recognized nationally and internationally by it. We have the full right to keep using it for as long as we consider it convenient. Any decision that is taken about it is of the responsibility of the ruling bodies of the university itself," he added.

The former PUCP is the academic alma mater of Liberation Theology (the expression itself was coined by its most famous theology professor, Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez).