Vatican strips Peru university of 'Catholic' title

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Benedict XVI leaves St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2012Image source, AFP
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The Vatican says the Peruvian university has drifted from its Catholic roots

The Vatican has stripped one of Latin America's top universities of the right to call itself Catholic or Pontifical.

It says the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru has damaged the interests of the church.

The Vatican has been locked in a decades-long struggle with the institution, which it accuses of drifting from its Catholic origins.

The university in the Peruvian capital Lima has long been identified with liberal, progressive thinking.

It was founded in 1917 and formally established as a Catholic institution by the Vatican in 1942.

However, the university has changed its statutes numerous times over the past few decades, angering the Catholic establishment in Rome.

One aspect of the dispute is that the Vatican wants the university to give the conservative archbishop of Lima a seat on its governing board.

The university refused him a post, despite a Peruvian court having ruled in 2010 that he had the right to one.

Peru's current and former presidents are both graduates of the university.

Gustavo Gutierrez, the priest considered the founder of the Liberation Theology movement, also taught there for years.

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