Rorate Caeli

More confusion: is Abp. Müller supporting Peru's rebel "Catholic" university?

Another situation that cries out for a clarification.

For the background to this, see the following articles:

-Universidad Ni-Ni: ni Pontificia ni Católica - The non-Pontifical non-Catholic University of Peru.
-Updated: full text of the decree
-New episodes in the Peruvian telenovela "La universidad del diablo"- In historic move, Vatican slams Episcopal Conference

Abp. Müller, current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the "Pontifical Catholic" University of Peru, already under investigation by Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, on Nov. 28, 2008. 

From Vatican Insider English version (with the translation slightly edited by Rorate):

Müller stands up for Peru’s “rebel” university

A letter from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to Cardinal Cipriani seems to support the University of Peru’s rebellion against the Pope and that of its rector, Marcial Rubio


Gerhard Ludwig Müller is a Doctor "Honoris Causa" at the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had stayed out of the conflict between the institution’s authorities, the Archbishop of Lima and the Holy See. But a letter of his addressed to Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani was interpreted as an expression of support for the university’s rebellion against the Pope.

In the letter, Müller asks for an explanation regarding the decision not to renew the ecclesiastical permission to teach at the PUCP of some Professors from the university’s Theology Department. The decision to withhold permission was communicated by the archbishop last December and came as a result of the decree issued by the Vatican last June, forbidding the university to use the titles “Pontifical” and “Catholic”.

Although the content is meant to be confidential, Peruvian magazine Caretas revealed some parts of the text. The Prefect apparently wrote that the university can continue to give theology lectures until the Holy See has fully resolved the problem. If this is true, it would come as a huge blow to the archbishop of Lima who is fighting a legal and ecclesiastical battle to drive home the fact that the university belongs to the Church.

In Peru, the sheer fact that this letter exists was an encouragement to rector Marcial Rubio and his collaborators, who on several occasions refused to reform the university’s statutes to bring them in line with the Vatican’s regulations on Catholic universities, the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”.

According to the counsellor of the Vice Rectorate of the former PUCP, Marco Sifuentes, the letter put Cipriani in his place. He wrote this on Twitter, whilst other users were claiming Müller had allegedly told off the Peruvian cardinal.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervened after Rome received complaints from professors saying they had been forbidden to hold lectures. The professors in question claimed this measure was taken for “doctrinal reasons”.

This seems to be a common feeling among staff at the former PUCP, as is confirmed in an article written by the university’s former rector Salomón Lerner Febres for La República newspaper on 13 January. In the article, Febres calls the removal of professors’ permission to teach as “a decision that is not in line with the evangelical spirit” and is a way to put a stop to the spread of Liberation Theology which Gustavo Gutiérrez developed in the university.”

To demonstrate his theory, Lerner quoted Müller’s words pronounced at a conference in Lima in November 2008, in which he defended Gutiérrez’s Theology as “orthodox”.

But Cipriani decided to revoke professors’ canonical authorization to teach, officially at least, on the basis of one objective fact: a sanction the Holy See imposed on the university via a decree that was signed by order of the Pope. Such an action does not require justification and can be taken by the archbishop of the Peruvian capital.

Gerhard Müller and the PUCP are linked together by a common past. Rome will never forget Müller’s study trips to Lima, as Bishop of Regensburg. He went every year for 18 years, without giving the local bishop any warning. And his Degree “Honoris Causa” was approved without even taking into account Cipriani or other important figures’ recommendations.

In light of this past, suspicions about the potential exploitation of Müller’s intervention in the “rebel” university case may not be completely unfounded.  Fears of this have heightened ahead of the conference that will announce Müller as Doctor “Honoris Causa” at Notre Dame University. In 2009 this university was criticised by the traditionalists for awarding the Degree “Honoris Causa” to Barack Obama.


  1. wl weber11:36 AM

    Quite a week. American bishop supporting the administration of abortion pills; Westminster (London) tacitly supporting Tina Beattie by seemingly encouraging her; and now,in Rome no less, support for an institution in Peru which promotes Liberation Thelogy.
    "The hungry Sheep look up but are not fed"

  2. Kudos to our Holy Father for trying to reign-in these renegades.

    This is very good news indeed.

  3. Muller should keep out of it because there is a conflict of interest and hence objectivity.

  4. Boy, things sure are going wonderfully for the church these days! A veritable Eden. Looks like you and I can stop blogging.

  5. Abp. Müller is raising a legitimate point -- the fact that the University is not Catholic should not in itself prevent Catholics from teaching there.

    The local Archbishop has no Authority whatsoever to impose such drastic limitations, notwithstanding his (justified !!!) decision concerning that institution.

  6. Anyone really shocked at this? He is what he is. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt but there are also those who prove it's a waste of time.

  7. Yet another reason to pay no attention to anything coming from the Vatican these days (or for the last 50 years).

  8. Judith11:52 PM

    Yet these people just keep moving up into ever more influential positions, don't they?

    What is the criteria for promotions among the hierarchy?

    It seems like the most radical and heterodox, the ones farthest from traditional interpretation of Traditional doctrines keep ascending to the highest levels, doesn't it?

  9. Judith12:17 AM

    Jabba Pappa

    I'm not understanding your remarks. The reason that Abp Mueller is involved is because the discussion is about Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The Holy Father wants to remove the words Catholic and Potifical from the name of the University because the University's Theology Department is teaching things that are heretical, and they refuse to stop teaching things that are heretical. This is the case with many purportedly Catholic Universities throughout the world.

    41% of Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have officially recognized pro-homosexual clubs, resource centers, or student organizations.

    Of the 28 Jesuit institutions of higher learning, 100% have pro-homosexual clubs. Many, such as Georgetown, Gonzaga,Loyola Marymount University, have university-funded sodomite centers and organizations that host or participate in pro-sodomite conferences with local and nation-wide sodomite activist organizations such as GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network).

  10. I think this is just one more issue showing Müller is incompetent for the job.

  11. Gratias9:10 AM

    Liberation Theology is a Marxist poison running through the veins of the Church. These are he Church's great enemies.

  12. Gustavo Ráez-Patiño2:30 PM

    OK, please lets get things right.


    Nobody said that catholics cannot teach in that University. What the local Archbishop said is that those priests who used to teach Theology there, with the Archdiocese's endorsement, cannot continue doing it. He certainly has authority over his priests, and don't forget he is also still the Grand Chancellor of the University. Besides, it seems a matter of simple logic: if the Holy See decides the University is no longer "Catholic" because it refuses to comply to the Church's rules, the Archdiocese cannot endorse the teaching of Theology by its priests there, so they must be retired. The University of course is free to continue teaching whatever "theology" pleases it, taught by whoever "teacher" it can find and hire, but that won't have the Church's support anymore.

    And Judith

    The reason why the Holy See stripped the University of its titles of "Catholic" and "Pontifical" is basically because its authorities refused, over and over again, to comply its statutes to the law of the Church.

  13. Judith10:27 PM


    Although now stripped of the title of Pontifical and Catholic, the University is still under the auspices of the Church.

    This is the most relevant part of the article to our discussion:

    "But Cipriani decided to revoke professors’ canonical authorization to teach, officially at least, on the basis of one objective fact: a sanction the Holy See imposed on the university via a decree that was signed by order of the Pope. Such an action does not require justification and can be taken by the archbishop of the Peruvian capital."

    The Archbishop is disallowing the "liberation theology" group from teaching because the Pope want them to stop teaching. They were given warnings and refused to comply. Now they are under Papal sanction. This is NOT a public university, although stipped of its Catholic name.

    Abp. Mueller is undermining this.


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