|Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne|
You will no doubt recall that during July 2012 Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, issued a decree revoking the right of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru to use the words ‘Pontifical’ and ‘Catholic’ in its title.
The reason for this decision was the fact that the University has, since 1990, repeatedly refused to amend its statutes so that they conform to Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Attempts at dialogue, as recently as February 2012, to bring about the change in the statutes of the University, have clearly proven unsuccessful.
This refusal of the University to comply with Ex Corde Ecclesiae is very strange. The University apparently began amending its statutes in 1967 already and has, in doing so, progressively prejudiced the Church, while the University lost its true Catholic identity.
The University has now begun a campaign to make the Vatican’s actions seem sinister. This seems to be standard practice for organisations like this, who clearly want to be known as Catholic, but refuse in practice to conform to what is Catholic. We saw the same behaviour from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the USA, who also began suggesting that there was something sinister in the actions of the Vatican. The University of Peru has now accused Opus Dei for the fall out between the University and the Vatican.
The University is claiming that Cardinal Luis Cipriani, the Archbishop of Lima, who is a member of Opus Dei, has been meddling in the Universities affairs with the specific objective of gaining control of the University for Opus Dei. Efrain Gonzales, the vice rector of the University said that this action of the Cardinal was “part of the political agenda of Opus Dei.”
One has to chuckle at remarks like this. The University is clearly trying to muster up as much support as possible and what could be better than a nice juicy conspiracy theory to do that for them.
Opus Dei became well known because of the Dan Brown novel and movie, The Da Vinci Code. Opus Dei was portrayed in a way that has since fuelled many conspiracy theories, ranging from how Opus Dei controls the Church, to its control over many other organisations in the world. The secular media are of course always looking for a story that will really grab the attention of its readers and a juicy conspiracy theory like this will certainly ensure that the University receives media and public interest, as it portrays itself to be in a battle with ‘dark forces’. Sadly, even some Catholics will fall for this nonsense!
The truth is that it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. The University refuses to amend its statutes to comply with Ex Corde Ecclesiae. So, effectively the University does not wish to identify itself with what are the essential characteristics of a Catholic University as set out in Ex Corde Ecclesiae:
Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
1. a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
2. a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
3. fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
4. an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.
It’s simple really! If the University does not want to identify as Catholic, why should the University be called Catholic? It’s just ludicrous to start seeing anything sinister in this request from the Vatican or in the actions of the Cardinal.