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Vatican Responds to “Exorcist” Author’s Complaints About Georgetown
A high-ranking church official says William Peter Blatty’s claim that the school is not Catholic enough is “well-founded.” By Benjamin Freed
Georgetown's "Exorcist steps," made famous by William Peter Blatty's religious horror story. Photograph by Flickr user Adam Gerard.
Comments () | Published May 13, 2014

Exorcist author William Peter Blatty’s has a new ally in his long-running holy war against Georgetown University now that the power of a 2,000-signature petition has compelled the Vatican to respond to his long-running complaints that his alma mater is not Catholic enough.

Blatty, a 1950 alumnus, has been upset with the school for several years, complaining that Georgetown—the oldest Jesuit university in the United States—has strayed from its canonical mission.

The school’s 2012 choice of then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as commencement speaker prompted Blatty to threaten it with a lawsuit. Blatty ratcheted up his protest last fall when he gathered signatures and submitted his canonical petition to the Vatican, asking the Holy See to strip Georgetown of its officially Catholic status, citing, among other perceived offenses, the campus’s safe-sex program, a staging of The Vagina Monologues, hosting openly gay speakers, and an overall declining proportion of Catholic students and professors. 

It appears to have worked. On Monday, the National Catholic Register reported that a high-ranking Vatican official called Batty’s outrage a “well-founded complaint.”

“Our Congregation is taking the issue seriously, and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard,” wrote Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees the church’s affiliated schools.

Blatty said he was “gratified” by the response, but he probably shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Although he piqued the Vatican’s interest, his petition fell short of invoking Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a 1990 edict issued by Pope John Paul II on the governance of church-affiliated universities.

The church’s role in Georgetown University isn’t that distant these days, though. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Washington archdiocese is a frequent visitor to campus. The school has also defended its reputation since Blatty first floated his petition. “Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger,” Rachel Pugh, the school’s communications director, said last September when Blatty turned in his petition.

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  • Novaultra

    Is Blatty Blat possessed? Off his meds? Harley, I just don't see the problem. Chill, dude.

  • Harley Rummel

    “Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger,” Rachel Pugh, the school’s communications director, said last September when Blatty turned in his petition."

    Say WHAT???

    Isn’t this the university which removed the crosses from its classroom walls, so as not to offend Muslims and others?

    The university which invited pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the architect of the controversial birth control mandate, to speak at commencement?

    The university which now offers health care benefits to the same-sex partners of its faculty?

    The university with a pro-abortion student group, H*yas for Choice, which offers on-line instruction on how and where to obtain condoms, birth control pills, “emergency contraception,” and abortions, and which promotes internships with almost every major pro-abortion advocacy organization and political committee?

    Isn’t this the university attended by Sandra Fluke, the poster woman for contraception who testified before Congress, asking that the government pay for her birth control?

    This is the university where some 70 faculty members signed a letter of complaint after Cardinal Francis Arinze told graduates and others at the 2003 commencement ceremony about Church teaching regarding the family. Cardinal Arinze’s “offensive” statement, which resulted in some faculty and students walking out, was:

    “In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by Divorce.”

  • M. Miranda

    As Mr. Blatty's lawyer on this matter I can tell you that you have the facts wrong. It was based on Ex corde Ecclesiae that the Holy See ruled that we had established "a well-founded compliant."

  • Amber rose lydia Jackson

    The adult people sold out instead of relying on God with faith they sold out for the children future is now in jepordy because the wantedmoney instead of enjoying gods blessing of future by way of chchildren carrying on his namre instead of the price tag the parents choose s the sell out is a shame

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Posted at 02:48 PM/ET, 05/13/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs