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Pontifical university stripped of title: Opus Dei blamed

Opus Dei are thought to have influenced a row between a Catholic university and the Vatican which could become a diplomatic incident.

  • Mitra Taj
  • Peru
  • August 3, 2012
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One of Peru's top universities says it thinks maneuvers by the conservative Roman Catholic group Opus Dei are behind the school's high-profile falling out with the Vatican.

In a dispute that could drag Peru and the Vatican into a diplomatic spat, the Catholic Church ordered the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) in a July letter to drop the words "pontifical" and "Catholic" from the official name it has been using for more than 60 years.

The university, which was founded in 1917 and is widely regarded as the country's most progressive institution of higher education, has refused to comply with the order. The Vatican says it will press its case with Peru's foreign ministry.

Vatican representatives say they have spent years trying to persuade the university to comply with Church laws and that a large financial donation the school received should be managed in accordance with those.

Efrain Gonzales, vice rector of the university, claims the archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Luis Cipriani, has tried to meddle in the university's affairs.

"Monsignor Cipriani ... is the most well-known cardinal of Opus Dei, and obviously everyone knows Opus Dei has a political agenda," Gonzales said. "We think this is part of the plan they have. So of course the archbishop uses all of his influence to take control of this very good university."

Cipriani, who holds the largely ceremonial post of grand chancellor of the university, is one of only a couple of Opus Dei priests who have been promoted to cardinal.

Opus Dei, or "God's Work" in Latin, is a conservative group made mostly of non-clerics whose guiding principle is that people can become saintly by pursuing their ordinary lives.

Critics say it has a conservative political agenda, which the group denies.

Full Story: Peruvian university worries Opus Dei behind dispute with Church

Source: Chicago Tribune
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