Chaves de la Rosa, Pedro José
CHAVES DE LA ROSA, PEDRO JOSÉ
Spanish bishop and reformer; b. Cádiz, Spain, June 27, 1740; d. there, Oct. 26, 1821. He went to Peru as bishop-elect of Arequipa and was consecrated in Lima on Jan.
23, 1788. When he took over the diocese, it was in a state of neglect and decadence, but he was prompt in launching a major reform which, although it caused him serious difficulty, was one of the most successful in the history of Peru. He had the special virtue of carrying out his duties with a clear vision of the future at a crucial moment for Latin America. The buildings, discipline, and curriculum of his seminary he restored in accordance with the latest standards of the time; there he prepared a generation of men whom he infused with the desire for reform. These men played an outstanding role in politics, education, and religion during the first years of the republic. Chaves de la Rosa's progressive and firm determination was not well understood by those who should have been his closest collaborators. Vexed at encountering opposition from his own chapter, the clergy, and some religious orders, he sent his resignation to the pope, who accepted it on Aug. 9, 1805. Upon his return to Spain in 1809, he participated in some sessions of the cortes of Cádiz, which honored him with various titles. In 1813 he was appointed Patriarch of the Indies, but two years later he also resigned this honor. Just before he died, he donated his library to the seminary of Arequipa and the rest of his possessions to the orphan asylum he founded in his episcopal city, which still exists as the Instituto Chaves de la Rosa.
Bibliography: m. de mendiburu, Diccionario históricobiográfico del Perú (2d ed. Lima, 1931–34) 4:344–346. r. vargas ugarte, Historia de la Iglesia en el Perú (Lima 1953–62).
[e. t. bartra]