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Friday, May 31, 2013

Blatty Submits Petition to Archbishop - Academy Award Winner Takes on Georgetown As Promised

Exorcist Author Submits Petition of 1200 Alumni, Students, Faculty, Parents to Address Repeated Scandals, Dissidence and Non-Compliance with Church Law

Washington, D.C. – Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty, whose best-selling book and blockbuster film The Exorcist were situated at his alma mater, Georgetown University, announced today that he has delivered a “Petition” on behalf of more than 1200 alumni, students, parents, teachers, and other laity from around the world.  The “Petition” prays that the Catholic Church will grant several remedies, including, if made necessary, the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit in its fundraising and representations to applicants.

The Petition cites a Vatican Decree issued on July 11, 2012, at the request of the Archbishop of Lima, that ordered the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, a very prominent Latin American university, to cease calling itself “Catholic” and “Pontifical” while declaring that it continued to be ecclesiastical property and subject to the requirements of Church law.

On the order of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, based the decision on the university’s failure to comply with Ex corde Ecclesiae, the 1990 Apostolic Constitution for Catholic Universities and that the University of Lima persists “in continuing to orient its institutional initiatives according to standards that are inconsistent with the norms and morality of the Church.”

GeorgetownUniversity is, likewise, Church property legally entrusted to the Society of Jesus nearly 200 years ago and to a civil corporation that administers it.  Georgetown also received a pontifical charter that has never been abrogated.

The Georgetown effort was first announced two months before the Peru decree, on the heels of an unprecedented rebuke of Georgetown and its first lay president by His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, over Georgetown’s invitation to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be a graduation ceremony speaker in may 2013.  Despite this and two petitions collecting almost 60,000 voices, Georgetown did not relent.

The editors of the Archdiocesan newspaper wrote in an editorial then regarding Georgetown: “When the vision guiding university choices does not clearly reflect the light of the Gospel and authentic Catholic teaching, there are, of course, disappointing results.”

The Father Kings Society’s Canon Law action, based on Georgetown’s failure for more than two decades to comply with the requirements of Ex corde Ecclesiae, was being planned even before the Sebelius scandal.

“The Scandals that Georgetown has given to the faithful are too many to count, and too many to ignore any longer,” Blatty said.

“Today Georgetown is the Borgia university, reflecting more the spirit of Alexander VI, than of Archbishop John Carroll, John Henry Cardinal Newman, or Pope John Paul II.  Georgetown hardly reflects that St. Ignatius who stood preaching in the pouring rains of Paris to stop young men from losing their souls for the sake of carnality,” Blatty said. 

“After one year of work, the Petition we submit today is 198 pages, 476 footnotes, 91 appendices, 124 witness statements, a commissioned 120-page institutional audit of Georgetown, a sworn certification of facts, and a legal opinion.  We have documented 23 years of Scandals and dissidence, over 100 Scandals in the most recent years alone,” said Manuel A Miranda, who has served as Blatty’s counsel.

“We have consulted with the best English and Spanish-speaking canon lawyers in the world.  We are on very solid ground,” Miranda said.

“What is evident is that Georgetown University has been captured by the ideology of radical autonomy.  It pervades everything,” Miranda said.   “Academic freedom is now prisoner to intolerant new orthodoxies, and Catholic moral teaching has surrendered to the dictatorship of moral relativism,” he added. 

When The Exorcist author announced the effort in May 2012 on the Father King Society website, he wrote: “What we truly seek is for Georgetown to have the vision and courage to be Catholic, but clearly the slow pastoral approach has not worked. Georgetown is being dishonest.  Together, we need to end that!”

“John Paul II exhorted us all to preserve for the Church the highest places of culture—our universities.  We have all been negligent for too long,” Blatty wrote.

The Fr. King Society has worked with The Cardinal Newman Society, which for nearly two decades has been a leader in the movement to promote strong Catholic identity.  The Cardinal Newman Society will provide expert advice, research assistance, and public relations support.

In 1991-1992, Georgetown was the stage for a smaller Canon Law action based on Ex corde Ecclesiae.  Then-Dean of Student Affairs Dr. John J. DeGioia, now GU’s first lay president, authorized funding and support for a pro-abortion student advocacy group.  Georgetown’s Jesuit president was called to Rome.  Weeks later, the Univerity reversed itself.  It was a success that reverberated as other universities announced defunding of similar clubs.

Manuel Miranda wrote the 1991 petition.   “The new Canon Law effort is much larger in scale and consequences,” Miranda said.  

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