The Cardinal and plagiarism

30 August 2015

Lima’s Cardinal Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani has become the subject of allegations that he has plagiarised material in his sermons and in articles published in ‘El Comercio’.

His defence has been that he was simply making reference to well-known material written by Popes, and that at most he was guilty of carelessness in the placing of inverted commas. At least eight instances of plagiarism have been identified in the last couple of weeks. The texts plagiarised include not only material produced by Popes, but also philosophers, as well as the 20th century Peruvian thinker Víctor Andrés Belaúnde. El Comercio withdrew the Cardinal’s articles.

The Cardinal is known for his conservative stance, including his fierce opposition to the acceptance of homosexual unions, abortion in the case of rape, as well as his support of the Fujimori regime. He has also stood up for mining companies (in which he has been found to have shares). Cipriani was instigator of the long-running campaign to take full control over the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), a bid stymied since the election of Pope Francis. The plagiarism accusations have prompted some critics to call for his resignation. Some consider the fact that Pope Francis visited the region (Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay), but did not stop over in Peru as a deliberate slight on the part of the Vatican.

In response to what they believe is an attempt to ‘silence the Cardinal’, a number of key personalities in Peru, mostly known for their right-wing connections, placed a one-page advert in El Comercio defending Cipriani against what they see as baseless attacks. For an editorial comment by Augusto Alvarez Rodrich of the opposing La Republica newspaper, see

Cipriani, who once allegedly declared human rights to be nonsense (‘cojudeces’), will continue to be a polarizing presence in Peru.


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