Text: Giuseppe Nardi
(Rome) Pope Francis continues the rehabilitation of individuals and institutions in Latin America who were censured by the Holy See – especially under Pope Benedict XVI. – because of serious deviations from the doctrine or Church order.
Rehabilitation Ariel Álvarez Valdés
A few weeks ago Pope Francis rehabilitated his Argentine compatriot, the dogmatic theologian Ariel Álvarez Valdés. For more than twelve years 1995-2008 there has been conflict between Álvarez Valdés and the Church. As a representative in the teaching of biblical rationalism in Chile, modeled after the Lutheran Rudolf Bultmann, despite not distancing himself after repeated calls from heterodox theories, his teaching license was revoked. Álvarez Valdés’ reaction to the condemnation of his priesthood led him to describe himself as a “victim” of a “repressive method of persecution” by the Roman Congregation. Ariel Álvarez Valdés would not correct any of his nine theses contested by the CDF for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation by Pope Francis was made unilaterally and without reparation. A substantive issue was not addressed.
Rehabilitation of Cicero Romao Batista
On December 2015 Pope Francis rehabilitated the excommunicated priest Brazilian Cicero Romao Batista (1844-1834). Romao Batista had been excommunicated form rebellion in 1891 against ecclesiastical order. He was accused by his bishop of having constructed a false Eucharistic miracle. After his excommunication, Romao Batista, a staunch Christian Social activist, engaged in political activities and got into the fight between liberals and Catholics. It was there that the people’s veneration grew in his homeland, the State of Ceará in northeastern Brazil. In 1974 he was canonized by the schismatic Brazilian Apostolic Church. In the case of Romao Batista the Vatican Secretariat of State informed the competent bishop of a formal error. The Excommunication of 1891 had never been properly executed, therefore Romao Batista was never excommunicated. Also in this case Pope Francis forewent any substantive explanation.
In addition there are a number of signals of approaching liberation theology, such as the visit of Pope Francis in July 2015 at the grave of the Jesuit and Marxist Luis Espinal Camps in Bolivia and the controversial beatification of Archbishop Óscar Romero in May 2015 in San Salvador. Pope Francis recognized the death of the archbishop, who was killed in the church by a soldier of the former military dictatorship, as Martyrdom in odium fidei. It was his predecessor Benedict XVI. who harbored doubts and stopped the beatification process.
Five Bishops With Evil Rector
Former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
On Friday, August 12, it was announced in a press release that the former “Pontifical Catholic” University of Peru will now officially again call themselves “Catholic” and may use the honorary title of “pontifical” university.
The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) is the oldest private university in the Latin American country. They currently enroll 25,000 students. In 1917 she was consciously founded by the Arnsteiner Father Jorge Dintilhac SSCC (Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) as a Catholic university to counteract the pressures of liberal sentiments from the state. Dintilhac was founding rector and defined the university until his death in 1947. In 1942 his work was honored by Pope Pius XII., recognizing the school as a Pontifical University. Each incumbent Archbishop of Lima was its Grand Chancellor.
Since the 1960s, Gustavo Gutierrez has taught at the University, the namesake and founder of Marxist liberation theology. Because of various initiatives and its faculty, there were conflicts with ecclesiastical authority. Under the incumbent Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, the conflict came to a head. The cardinal denounced the university as its Grand Chancellor, of being in its activities and doctrine like secular universities and urged it to regain its lost Catholic profile. The cardinal referred to the constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae issued by Pope John Paul II. in 1990 and called for its implementation.
Lack of Catholic Profile
As Rector Marcial Antonio Rubio Correa, after the ouster of President Alberto Fujimori 2000/2001, became Minister of Education, was deaf to this proposal, an investigation was launched by the Vatican. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI. sent Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, as apostolic visitor. Since this intervention did not bear fruit, the Vatican presented the University with an ultimatum to implement the provisions of 1990. As this passed unheeded, the University was deprived of recognition as a “Papal” and “Catholic” university.
Rector Rubio Correa continued the confrontation nevertheless, and insisted upon maintaining the full name, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú because it was independent of Canon Law, by the name of the University being recognized and registered by the State Peru. In Catholic publications ever since an “ex” is used when naming the University.
Four years later, everything seems different. Pope Francis let the Peruvian Episcopal Conference know through Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin that the University may be called again “papal” and “Catholic”. The bishops are again to return the University to the highest of bodies. On August 12, the Episcopal Conference implemented the papal request. An official delegation visited the University Rector to officially notify them of the papal decision. Rector is still the lawyer Marcial Antonio Rubio Correa.
Big Loser Cardinal Cipriani Thorne
Of an implementation of the university constitution Ex Corde Ecclesciae 1990 or a strengthening of the Catholic profile, there is no more talk. With immediate effect five bishops reassume their seat and a vote in university committees, including the President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón, the Archbishop of Ayacucho o Huamanga. Rector Rubio Correa has said he was “delighted” and did so through the press-service of the University, presenting a photo of himself and the five bishops.
In August 2012, the bishops had still defended Cardinal Cipriani Thorne against “baseless allegations” that were spread by the media, who supported the struggle of the Rector against the Church. The bishops declared that time to try to protect those students who “want to preserve the Catholic identity of the University.” Four years later, the “Catholic identity” at the University does not seem to be at risk.
The big loser is, next to the Church’s credibility and a recognizable Catholic position, especially, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne. The cardinal was not included in Pope Francis’ decision. This thus gives the impression that the Primate of Peru, along with Benedict XVI., had a senseless conflict about a broken fence, there had apparently never existed one reason to deprive the University of its name.
Cardinal Cipriani Thorne belongs to Opus Dei, who has been under strong pressure since the election of Pope Francis within the Peruvian Episcopal Conference. The bishops newly appointed by Francis have almost invariably, another understanding of the Church. The Cardinal is, due to his personality and intellect, a still outstanding, but increasingly isolated figure in the Catholic Church in the country. It is an open secret that a group of brothers in the episcopate longs for his retirement. The Cardinal will complete in December 2018 his 75th year.