Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A supposedly "Catholic" education

Cardinal Bertone

The Zenit Newsagency reports that after long negotiations the Pontifical University of Peru has still refused to fall into line with some basic requests - like following its own constitutions (which, of course, give the Church its rightful place in its governance). Cardinal Bertone has given the University - after long and patient requests and talks - a deadline of Easter Sunday to mend its ways. Presumably, its Pontifical status can be withdrawn. You can read the Zenit article below and some further background here. It has a history of supporting such things as liberation theology.

It struck me that Catholic institutions of education all over the world - from Primary schoools to Universities - seem to want to hold on to their "Catholic" title but rebell and reject the teaching and authority (Magisterium) of the Church itself. Very often the high handed and bullying tactics such institutions accuse the Church of are exactly what these institutions themselves are guilty of.

Sadly, this rejection of the Church's authority and of truly Catholic teaching faithful to the Magisterium is facilitated by clergy of various levels co-operating fully with this attitude. As in the case of the Pontifical University of Peru, there is often a wilful ignoring of the Church's and the academic institution's own mandates of governance and guidelines which were designed to prevent just such a moving away from the the Church's teaching and oversight. In other words, if those who are meant to be in charge of an academic instution at a local level refuse to follow thier own guidelines and constitutions, to whom can one appeal? Only to Rome itself, as in this case. Perhaps this should happen more often to recall supposedly "Catholic" teaching institutions away from their own version of the Church's teaching back to a one more faithful to what the Church actually does teach.

If an institution changes or ignores the texts that are suppoed to govern its practice and day to day existence, should it not be honest and openly say it no longer wants to be guided by them?
Should such institutions not go their own way and stop sheltering under the wing of the Church, receiving its benifits whilst underming its teachings? Changing the obvious meaning of the words used to govern our lives has long been recognised as the mark of the bully, the fascist and those who will brooke no opposition - we recognise it in Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four". It's been my own experience that such attitudes are often found in the self-stlyed, so-called, liberal institutions connected with the Church in our day.

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2012 The Pontifical University of Peru has been asked by the Vatican to amend its statutes as soon as possible so as to conform to the requirements of the Church for Catholic universities.

The formal request was made at a meeting between the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Marcial Rubio Correa, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).

The meeting follows the Dec. 5-11 visit to the Lima university by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest.

According to the statement issued by the Vatican press office, Cardinal Bertone told the university's rector "that the statutes of the PUCP be regularised as soon as possible, adapting them to the Apostolic Constitution 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae' for the good of the PUCP itself and of the Church in Peru."

The university was told to submit the revised statutes by Easter Sunday, April 8, incorporating the amendments previously communicated to them last July 16.

"Finally, Cardinal Bertone expressed the hope that the academic community would accept these indications, so that the PUCP may increasingly dedicate itself to its mission of offering young people a solid formation, rooted in faithfulness to the Magisterium, as a guarantee of the great contribution the university is called to make to the country," the press office statement concluded.

Pontifical status

The PUCP was founded as a church-based institution in 1917 and was granted pontifical status in 1942.

Last year the archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, pointed out that the university statutes of 1956 obliged it to act in accordance with the laws of the Church and to obey the Holy See.

In 1990 John Paul II issued the Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae and all Catholic universities were asked to revise their statutes in accordance with it.

Not only has the PCUP not done this but, following a 2010 decision by the Constitutional Court of Peru that acknowledged the right of the Archdiocese of Lima to have a seat on the university's board of directors, the university has refused to abide by this decision.

The university was also ordered to acknowledge the Archdiocese of Lima's right to elect the university rector from among three candidates proposed by the university assembly.

Then, on Sept. 23, 2011, the university assembly, led by Rubio, formally voted to refuse to comply with the request by the Vatican to adapt its statutes in accordance with the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

If the university were to refuse the latest request by the Holy See it could lose its status as a pontifical university and also its title of being a Catholic institution. This could affect its ability to continue operating, as under the terms of the will through which its current property was donated, if it ceases to be a Catholic university the land reverts to the Archdiocese of Lima.


hickory said...

I cannot help thinking that the author is really having a moan about his own "local" difficulties. Why doesnt he just come out and say so?

Kinga Grzeczynska said...

Father Henry

Would you like to put this link onto your blog?

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We need people of good will to speak out and save marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman for a lifetime commitment.

Kinga Grzeczynska

Cesar said...

I think that the comment of Catholic institutions retaining the title without actually applying the teachings is a superb comment Fr. Henry.


Paul S said...


Recently there was an inspection from the Education Dept from Liverpool Archdiocese in our local catholic primary school.

We were told in no uncertain terms, that we were not to teach about Noah's Ark anymore, to the children.

Readings at the Holy Mass for the First Sunday in Lent, clearly refer to Noah's Ark and God's Covenant with His people.

Is it any wonder that we are in such a mess when the Archdiocesan Religious Education Dept cannot get it right!

Paul S

georgem said...

Yes, local difficulties are occurring in dioceses across the land. Having gained subsidiarity, those who whined about the overwheening influence of the Magisterium brooking no disagreement, are now visiting exactly the same on their priests and faithful.
We are in a terrible mess.