Vatican warns Peruvian bishops to not be ‘used’ by former Catholic university

Lima, Peru, Jul 24, 2012 / 04:08 pm (CNA).- The Vatican has urged the bishops of Peru to not be manipulated by administrators of the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, in wake of the Holy See's decision to strip the school of its “Pontifical” and “Catholic” titles.

In a letter sent to the president of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Salvador Pineiro, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone asked that the bishops not allow the conference “to be used as an instrument by the rector’s office of the university.”

The Vatican removed the school's Catholic credentials on July 21 after months of discussions between both sides, which began after a 2011 Vatican inspection of the university carried out by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest. He traveled to Peru, where he found the Lima-based institution at odds with the Catholic Church in several significant areas of policy.

In a letter published July 22 in local newspaper El Comercio, Cardinal Bertone encouraged Archbishop Pineiro to support the Holy See’s position and the Archdiocese of Lima, and to firmly reject “any contrary intervention.”

He also said it was inappropriate that five members of the Bishops' Conference, who were unelected to do so by the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Peru, “participate in an organization established by statutes that have not been legitimately approved.”

Cardinal Bertone’s request came after the bishops in question issued a statement on April 17 calling for a “comprehensive solution” to the dispute and setting as a condition that the Archdiocese of Lima drop its lawsuit over the intentions of Jose Riva-Aguero, who donated land to the university in his will.

Riva Aguero stipulated that the university could use the land as long as a representative of the Church was allowed a permanent seat on its governing board.

“That statement has contributed to the misinformation, and therefore it would be appropriate for the conference to repair the misinformation,” Cardinal Bertone said in his letter.

The Vatican Secretary of State also expressed “bewilderment” over a number of initiatives promoted by the former Catholic university.

These included the school's recognitions of Gregorio Peces-Barba, an anti-Catholic Spanish ideologue and one of the authors of the controversial school course Education for the Citizenry in Spain, and Father Gaston Garatea, who was suspended from priestly ministry by the Archdiocese of Lima for holding positions contrary to Catholic teaching.  

Cardinal Bertone also referred to the university’s Theology Department and its required reading of the book, “Liberation Theology: Perspectives,” by Liberation Theology proponent Father Gustavo Gutierrez.

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