To its critics in the church, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is not deserving of its name. It has spurned the pontiff, they say. It is far from Roman Catholic orthodoxy, they argue. In their minds, the school ought to be called something else entirely.
“It’s false advertising,” said FernÃ¡n Altuve, a conservative legal expert who supports a recent order by the Vatican that the school change its name by eliminating references to the pope and the church. “It’s as if I sell you a bottle that says Coca-Cola but what’s inside is Pepsi.”
The fight over the name of what is considered one of the top universities in South America is part of a fierce battle over academic freedom and the authority of the Vatican that is unfolding here. La CatÃ³lica, as the school is known, is the alma mater of many of Peru’s elite, including President Ollanta Humala.