‘Exorcist’ Author Blatty to Sue Georgetown University over Catholic Authenticity
William Peter Blatty, who graduated from Georgetown in 1950, says the “last straw” was the university’s speaking invitation to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Sebelius, who addressed graduating public policy students on Friday (May 18), has been criticized by conservative Catholics for approving a mandate that requires many religious institutions to cover employees’ birth control costs. The Archdiocese of Washington called the Sebelius invitation “shocking.”
Blatty, 85, credits a Georgetown scholarship with fostering his writing career, which includes an Academy Award for “The Exorcist,” a blockbuster based on his best-selling 1971 novel. In the book and movie, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown, the nation’s oldest Catholic university, struggles to save a demon-possessed girl. Now retired, Blatty lives in Bethesda, Md.
“What I owe Georgetown, however, is nothing as compared to what Georgetown owes to its founders and the Christ of faith,” Blatty said in a statement.
The author says that Georgetown has violated church teaching for decades by inviting speakers who support abortion rights and refusing to obey instructions the late Pope John Paul II issued in 1990 to church-affiliated colleges and universities.
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