Pope Creates Commission to Address Peruvian University's Catholic Identity

The could be the last chance for the former pontifical institution to adhere to guidelines the Holy See set in 2012.

Cardinal Peter Erdo, relator general of the 2014 Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on pastoral challenges to the Family
Cardinal Peter Erdo, relator general of the 2014 Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on pastoral challenges to the Family (photo: CNA/Alan Holdren)

LIMA, Peru — The Apostolic Nunciature in Peru announced that Pope Francis has created a commission of cardinals to find a solution to the case of the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, which has clashed with the Vatican over the university’s Catholic identity.

“In the absence of the apostolic nuncio, it is my duty to inform you that the Holy Father has established a commission of cardinals whose mission will be to find a definitive consensual solution — within the framework of the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (On Catholic Universities) — to the question of the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru,” the administrator of the nunciature, Father Jose Antonio Teixeira Alves, wrote to Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima.

The commission will consist of Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, who is president of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and will serve as coordinator, along with Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec and Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago, Chile.

Cardinal Erdo was in Lima in 2011 on an apostolic visit to investigate the case of the former pontifical university. Vatican officials told CNA he will make another visit to Peru this summer.

The appointment of the commission could mark the last chance for the Peruvian university to observe the requirements the Holy See put in place years ago.

The Vatican has asked the university to write new statutes that would align with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which offers norms governing Catholic colleges. University administrators have repeatedly refused to do so, claiming that they were limited by Peruvian law.

In August 2012, a decree authorized by Pope Benedict XVI stripped the university of the titles “Catholic” and “pontifical,” while reinforcing that canon law still applied to the university.

The election of the university's new rector will take place on July 4. The current vice rector, Pepi Patron, is a leading contender to assume the post. She has defended the institution’s position against the Vatican.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.