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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  • Historical Overview

    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

  • Society and Conflict

    Peru’s indigenous and peasant communities continue to suffer political marginalisation and discrimination. Insufficient consultation with such groups over political and developmental decisions has fostered feelings of disenfranchisement and led to elevated levels of social conflict.

  • Climate Change

    Two important reports on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC ) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios and the Stern Review, place Peru as one of the countries that will be most affected by the effects of climate change.

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