Lifestyle & Belief

Peru: Vatican strips university of Catholic status


Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (R) and Pope Benedict XVI at La Scala theater Orchestra during a concert in Milan on June 1, 2012. Bertone is quickly becoming the target of a recent scandal involving leaked Vatican documents.


Daneil Dal Zennaro

The Vatican has withdrawn the titles "Catholic" and "Pontifical" from a university in Peru after decades of discussions over the school's identity.

The unusual move was announced yesterday, with the Vatican saying Lima's Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, founded in 1917 and given Vatican recognition in 1942, had drifted from its Catholic origins through amendments to its statutes, according to the Associated Press. The Vatican also said it had in recent months sought to persuade the university to conform with a papal decree on the governance of Catholic universities, but did not receive the result it wanted.

The Catholic News Service also reported that tensions between university officials and the local cardinal over control of the school's assets might have been another factor in the Vatican's decision. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, issued a decree formally stating the decision, saying it was made "on the basis of a specific papal mandate."

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Tensions escalated when the university refused to provide Lima's Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani with a seat on the governing board, despite it being a legal requirement confirmed by the courts, according to Catholic World News.

CWN also reported that upon receiving the official notice from the Vatican, the school's rector issued a response, saying it would continue to call itself the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

"We have the right to continue using (that name) as we see fit," the rector said.