Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec is one of three cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to try to resolve a long-standing dispute with a Peruvian university and see if it would be possible to restore the university's designation as "pontifical" and "Catholic." CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope asks cardinals to try to resolve conflict with Peruvian university

  • April 29, 2014

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has appointed three cardinals, including Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, to try to resolve a long-standing dispute with a Peruvian university and see if it would be possible to restore the university's designation as "pontifical" and "Catholic."

The rector of the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima released a statement April 28 saying, "The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has formed a commission of cardinals with the mission of meeting to find a 'final, consensual solution,' in the framework of the apostolic constitution 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae,' to the outstanding issues" between the Vatican and the university.

In addition to Cardinal Lacroix, Pope Francis appointed Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest and Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago. Cardinal Erdo, a canon lawyer, had conducted an apostolic visitation of the university in 2011 at the request of the Vatican.

The Vatican press office confirmed the appointment of the cardinals, but gave no other details.

Under Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then the Vatican secretary of state, issued a decree in July 2012 withdrawing the titles "Catholic" and "pontifical" from the university "on the basis of a specific papal mandate." The university has continued using both titles.

The Vatican, in its 2012 communique, said that since 1967, the university's governing body repeatedly and "unilaterally modified its statutes with serious prejudice to the interests of the church."

Beginning in 1990, the Vatican said, it repeatedly asked the university to rewrite its statutes in accordance with the principles outlined in "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," the 1990 apostolic constitution on guaranteeing the identity and mission of Catholic colleges. The Vatican said the university had a "legal obligation" to adopt the norms called for in the constitution, and students of the university had a right to attend a university that was recognized by the Vatican as Catholic.

The university had been mired in a long-standing dispute with the Archdiocese of Lima over property willed to the university more than half a century ago. Lima Cardinal Juan Cipriani Thorne has publicly questioned the way the university manages the inheritance and has insisted on more transparency and accountability to the archdiocese.

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