February 27, 2017

May 20, 2012

‘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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The story only makes sense if one follows the link and reads all of it. This is not a civil suit.

Blatty’s “indictment” against Georgetown charges the school with failing to recruit Catholic teachers and students, neglecting to instruct students in Catholic morality and failing to act in accord with church doctrine. He expects the suit to be filed in the Archdiocese of Washington’s court of canon law this fall.

Blatty recently founded The Father King Society, named after a former Georgetown theology professor, to enlist fellow alumni in his cause.

A similar church suit was brought against Georgetown in 1991 for authorizing university funding for a student group that supported abortion rights. According to Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly, the case reached the Vatican before Georgetown agreed not to fund the group.

It will be interesting to follow this, since it raises a question of academic freedom vs. church doctrine, and to see whether the Archdiocese will not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

Go for it, William Peter Blatty, and see if you can exorcise Georgetown!

[1] Posted by Ralph on 5-20-2012 at 01:27 PM · [top]

The power of Christ compels you!

[2] Posted by All-Is-True on 5-20-2012 at 01:55 PM · [top]

Thank you, Ralph, now it all comes into focus.

[3] Posted by Jeffersonian on 5-20-2012 at 08:47 PM · [top]

#1 Ralph—Thanks for the clarification.  My head did a 360 degree turn over how a secular suit could possibly be brought.

[4] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 5-21-2012 at 06:05 PM · [top]

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