Author seeks to exorcise Georgetown University

Novelist William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, has sent a canon-law petition to the Vatican, asking it to require Georgetown University in Washington, DC, to live up to its Catholic identity.

The Jesuit university is Blatty’s alma mater, and his best-selling book and the 1973 blockbuster film The Exorcist were set in Georgetown.

His petition argues that Georgetown has regularly flouted Church teaching and discipline, and failed to provide students with authentic Catholic instruction.

According to Blatty’s legal counsel, Manuel Miranda, “Georgetown University has been captured by the ideology of radical autonomy. It pervades everything. Academic freedom is now prisoner to intolerant new orthodoxies, and Catholic moral teaching has surrendered to the dictatorship of moral relativism.”

The petition, including 124 witness statements, has been submitted to the Vatican Secretariat of State and to the Congregations for Education and for Religious.

It asks the Vatican to require that Georgetown implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the papal constitution governing Catholic colleges, and, if that is now done, to prevent the university from calling itself Catholic.

Blatty and his supporters — more than 2000 of whom have signed the petition — are buoyed by the knowledge that Pope Francis, as chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, successfully implemented Ex corde Ecclesiae, and also approved of Pope Benedict’s 2012 decree removing consent from the University of Peru to call itself Catholic.

Asked to explain why he has backed a petition that could damage the reputation of his alma mater, Blatty said, “Today’s Georgetown isn’t Georgetown, but more like a living Picture of Dorian Gray.”

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese of Washington said it “continues to work with Georgetown to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae”.

But last year an editorial in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard, said at the university leadership and faculty find their inspiration in sources other than the Gospel and Catholic teaching” and “the vision guiding university choices does not clearly reflect the light of the Gospel and authentic Catholic teaching”.


National Catholic Register

The Father King Society

Image: Georgetown Clinical Society

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,