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CHURCH and EDUCATION: Law regulating universities protects continuity of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), says President of the National Association of Deans (ANR)

Orlando Velásquez Benites, president of the ANR, ratified the association’s defense of the PUCP, saying that “the Vatican is a State, therefore it cannot interfere in matters of other states.”

Lima, Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By Rolando Pérez for ALC. 

On August 9, the Standing Council of the ANR issued an official statement supporting the current administration of the PUCP and recognizing the university’s official name, in spite of the fact that the Vatican has prohibited its use of 'Pontifical' and 'Catholic,' arguing that the PUCP has not conformed to the ecclesiastical norms of the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae.” 

The ANR statement is in agreement with the decision of the PUCP University Assembly that had previously made public a statement in which the decree by the Secretary of State of the Holy See is described as being deplorable and containing “various aspects that are in opposition to the rights recognized in the Peruvian Constitution, such as the right to identity, when intending the prohibition of the terms ‘Pontifical’ and ‘Catholic’”

In its statement, the PUCP maintains that it will hold to the commitment with its students, professors, workers, and graduates, “of having its official denomination respected, which has earned a prestige recognized both nationally and internationally.” “These values reaffirm that we are an autonomous, democratic, creative, critical and pluralistic university, with quality teaching and investigation, committed to Peruvian society, and identified with the Christian principles on which the rights of the human being are founded,” says the PUCP statement. 

Along the same lines, the dean of the PUCP, Marcial Rubio, pointed out that the university is not governed under canon law, but rather by respecting Peruvian legislation. "It is not the best example of tolerance and respect for liberties, that it be decreed that a Catholic university cannot call itself as such, but that its material goods can be,” he said in an interview with an internal publication of the university. 

Rubio further pointed out that given “the graveness” of the terms expressed in the recent Vatican decree, the PUCP will be forced “to revise the statutory relationship that we have” with the Church.   

For its part, the Permanent Council of the Peruvian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEP) has insisted in its exhortation to the dean and assembly of the PUCP that they accept the decision by Pope Benedict XVI asking them to adapt their statutes to the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae." 

Since 2007, the PUCP has been in a legal controversy with the Archbishop of Lima, seeking to protect itself from the threat of external interference represented by the demands of the archbishop, in which not only matters having to do with the property of the university are at stake, but also respect for the autonomy of the university, which is protected by Peruvian legislation. 

Photo: Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP)


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Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
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