The Peruvian educational reform law of 1972, promulgated by the military regime of General Juan Velasco Alvarado, was considered at the time one of the best to date in the history of Latin America. With the dismantling of many of the reform laws of the “First Phase” (1968-75) of the revolution during the “Second Phase” (1975-80), and the nearly total repudiation of the entire military period by the democratically elected government of Fernando Belaúnde Terry (1980-85), there was no change more regretted than the undoing of the educational reform. One of the main reasons for the reform's setback was the intense opposition it aroused among private upper-class schools which resented the social aspects of the law. Half of these schools were church-run. But contrary to what has happened in other Latin American countries, the battle in Peru was not between an authoritarian laicist state and the Roman Catholic Church. The real forces that lined up against each other in Peru were, on the one hand, the government, the official church and progressive groups within the church, which in the wake of Vatican II and the bishop's conference of Medellín not only came out in support of the law but even participated directly in composing it, and on the other hand, the powerful cluster of upper-class religious and lay schools which represented the traditional and rightest groups in the church. The educational reform, therefore, was the occasion for a clash among Catholics themselves. At the same time it forced the church to make a fundamental choice: between continuing its uncritical support for upper-class religious education or openly siding with the many state-supported church schools for the middle and lower classes, especially in cases of conflict between the two systems.