The Catolica at 100

25 March 2017

The Catholic University (PUCP) celebrated its centenary on 24 March with a celebration involving hundreds of staff, graduates and others at its Fundo Pando site in San Miguel, Lima. The celebrations involved a keynote address by Gustavo Gutierrez, the Dominican priest who gave birth to liberation theology in the 1970s. The celebration also involved words from President Pedo Pablo Kuczynski.

The invitation to Gutiérrez to provide the keynote speech was a further indication of the Católica’s decision not to be brow-beaten by Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani. Cipriani, who is due to retire next year, has been the main driving force behind the unrelenting attempts to stamp out liberation theology over the last 30 years, systematically removing from positions of authority all sympathisers. Gutierrez stressed the need for solidarity with the poor and excluded, as a key component of the role of the University.

Today, the Peruvian hierarchy has more Opus Dei bishops than almost any other country in the world. The Católica has been at the centre of a long-running dispute between Cipriani and the university authorities as to who should control it. Since the appointment of Pope Francis, the balance of power within the church has shifted against Cipriani and Opus Dei. The university authorities appear to have won their battle with Cipriani, although some of the legal issues involved have yet to be finally settled.

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