Author of The Exorcist William Peter Blatty to sue Georgetown in church court

Update (12:27 a.m.) In response to a request for comment, University spokesperson Stacy Kerr recommended using the quote from President John J. DeGioia‘s letter: “We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas.”

As if Georgetown’s relationship with Catholics couldn’t get any worse, Georgetown alum and Academy Award winning writer William Peter Blatty (COL ’50) threatens to file a canon lawsuit on Georgetown for its allegedly deteriorating Catholic identity. Blatty spoke to several media outlets stating that the University’s decision to host Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was the “last straw” in a series of building up tensions Georgetown has with several Catholic groups around the nation.

In an online petition, Blatty asks signatories to cease any donations to Georgetown. He claims that for the past decade the University has continually defied and broken Catholic canon law. “Georgetown is being dishonest. Together, we need to end that!,” Blatty writes on the petition. Canon law is a Catholic legal system with courts, lawyers, and judges, which does not have any binding power. Blatty claims that Georgetown has strayed too far from Catholic values for 21 years and his new organization may decide to submit a canon lawsuit asking the Church to revoke Georgetown’s “right to call itself Catholic.”

Blatty’s recently-founded organization is called The Father King Society: to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic, and Better. In the website, there is a list of Georgetown’s “scandals” against Catholic teachings. Among these scandals in the list include performances of “the vile play The Vagina Monologues” as well as the University’s hosting of speakers such as Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama. The organization alleges that all these speakers, who are either openly pro-choice or support abortion rights, prove Georgetown’s noncompliance with Catholic values.

As of yet, the University has not been available to respond.

Photo: Flickr

29 Comments on “Author of The Exorcist William Peter Blatty to sue Georgetown in church court

  1.  by  CO Hoya

    If I had to choose between my Alma mater being what it’s been the past 20 years (and losing the catholic identity) vs becoming Catholic University–if that’s really the choice on hand–then drop the Catholicism for all I care.

  2.  by  SFS '13

    I concur CO Hoya!

    To be honest, I think that Georgetown losing its Catholic identity would help our academic and social standings. We wouldn’t have to deal with the anti-abortion activists that so rudely interrupted ceremonies this weekend….

    If the extremist Catholics stop giving to Georgetown they will have even less power. So please, go ahead, stop writing those checks! There are plenty of progressive Catholic and non-Catholic students that will make it up.

  3.  by  Anon

    If we lose the “Catholic” piece, then maybe we can join the Ivy League… That would be fine with me…

  4.  by  CO Hoya

    @anon
    The basketball’s not as good in the Ivy league. lol

  5.  by  CO Hoya

    Update (12:27 a.m.) In response to a request for comment, University spokesperson Stacy Kerr recommended using the quote from President John J. DeGioia‘s letter: “We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas.”

    Subtext: “Your Mom!” hahahaha

  6.  by  Anon

    @CO Hoya

    BUT, if you are in the Ivy League you’re pretty “endowed” lol

  7.  by  Desiree Hellegers

    Are we to understand then, that Blatty was silent on the appointment of Alvaro Uribe to the faculty at Georgetown? Where was his outrage—and where was the Vatican’s–for example, when Jeanne Kirkpatrick was commencement speaker back in the early 1980s? Where was Blatty’s outrage when the late Salvadoran President Roberto D’Aubuisson was invited by a conservative student group to speak on campus in the 1980s? D’Aubuisson, of course, was one of the architects of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the rape and murder of Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel, and lay missioner Jeanne Donovan. He was responsible for the deaths of countless union and human rights organizers and Salvadorans who were tortured and murdered in unspeakable ways—that as Noam Chomsky has observed, “often had…Satanic overtones”?

    But I’m glad to see Blatty stepping into the forefront of this debate.
    After all, he’s probably done more to popularize Satanism in the U.S. than anyone since Cotton Mather. Among his many cinematic achievements—still seared in my teenage consciousness—is a scene in which Linda Blair masturbates with a crucifix.

    The problem, though, is that Blatty doesn’t go far enough in his desire to return Georgetown—and Catholicism—to its conservative roots. Instead of having Sebelius preside over commencement, can’t we burn her at the stake? Now that’s a tried and true solution for women who try to advance health care options for women. But barring the resurrection of that tradition, I guess a good old inquisition will do. And who better to advance it than Blatty, with his appeals for justice to a pope whose qualifying credentials include membership in the Hitler Youth Brigade? And those students who, as I understand it, voted for Sebelius as their graduation speaker? Simply explain to them that democracy and independent critical analysis have no place in a Catholic institution. Jesus, I’m sure, would have loved all of this stuff.

    Finally, as someone who really loved Father King and attended his masses–almost nightly for a time—as an undergraduate, I’m sorry to see this witch hunt unfolding under the banner of his name.

    Desiree Hellegers GU 1983

  8.  by  no suprises here

    Most students at Georgetown couldn’t give to shits about Georgetown’s history. They’re just pseudo-pretentious fucks who weren’t smart enough to get into an Ivy League school, but were too proud to go to a non-Catholic school in DC (IE: GW). This is epitomized no better by the commenters above, who pretty much have been lusting to say “OMG I GOT IN TO AN IVY SCHOOL TEEEHEHEHE” since their senior year of high school.

  9.  by  @no surprises here

    GW troller? Georgetown students don’t avoid GW because they’re too proud; and with lower acceptance rates than Cornell and, until recently, Penn, we’re not ivy envious. We don’t really consider GW to begin with, with regard to the types of schools we want to attend. While people attend GW because they want to be in DC, no matter what, we chose Georgetown because we wanted to be at a great university, all the better because it’s in DC. That’s why a significant portion of GW students also applied to Georgetown, but relatively few of us applied to GW. GW is the next best school in Washington, but that doesn’t make it the next best school to Georgetown. There are dozens of universities between the two schools, they’re just not in Washington.

    (On the history of GW: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/the_prestige_racket.php?page=all)

  10.  by  Asuka

    What do those ad hominems and straw men have to do with Blatty’s position?

  11.  by  Chandler

    Sounds like someone didn’t get in.

  12.  by  @@no surprises here

    Burn! Seriously though, f GW.

  13.  by  Pat

    The identity of Georgetown as a Catholic University is ridiculous. The president of the univerisity, nor the faculty or students care about this. Who cares if prior students are offended by Sebelious. If they don’t want to donate, so be it. This university can stand by itself. So lets drop the Catholic moniquer, and be what we are. Just a university. Down to Catholics!!!!!

  14.  by  proud burleither

    Georgetown students don’t care about their Catholic identity

    They couldn’t black out and have sex in public places if they followed the Bible

  15.  by  MT

    Desiree,
    Your parents must be disappointed; at least I would be. First, to question where was the outrage when past dubious speakers were invited to other events, does nothing to discredit the present outrage over the KS invite.
    The reality is that you attend a university that claims to be Catholic but doesn’t come close to living up to that standard. Therefore they should drop the claim and then you can wallow in your liberal academia world indefinitely.
    You say that KS “advances healthcare options for women.” What a joke. Exactly what options are to talking about? I would laugh if this wasn’t so pathetic. It’s pathetic that people like you hide your true meaning behind words like “options” and “privacy” and “healthcare.” Have you ever read “Theology of the Body” by JPII? Do you know anything?
    You claim that the KS pick demonstrates democracy and critical thinking. Please explain to me how how this is critical thinking. Did you forget that the Catholic Church invented the University system as we know it today?
    You point out that our current Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth Brigade. This reckless statement only shows you know nothing about living in Germany during WWII.
    I’m glad you went to nightly Mass and enjoyed Fr. King’s homilies. I only hope you didn’t present yourself for communion. If that was the case, you’d have something in common to share with KS.

  16.  by  2012

    All of you,
    I am so sorry that absolutely none of you seem to get what Georgetown is really about. I pray that most of you commenting are underclassmen, and have not taken classes with great Professors or Jesuits yet who will teach you what a Catholic education, particularly a Jesuit one, can afford you. Look for those classes, they’ll change your life. I’m sorry for Mr. Blatty, who greatly missed the mission of this University in his time here. I can’t decide if I’m most sorry for the GW creeper (go home) or the disgruntled Burleith resident (because I am very sorry that you don’t believe in fun… or joy, love, peace, friendship or rainbows, I assume).
    Georgetown is not about who is right and who is wrong. We are not about pointing fingers and shouting put-downs. We are most certainly not about passing judgment. Georgetown seeks to foster a conversation. It is a conversation you were invited to during new student orientation (especially if NSO for you was after the turn of the century, when Pluralism in Action became a part of the program). You were invited to listen to other perspectives, opinions, experiences, beliefs and values because for everyone these are different. Regardless of your faith tradition you are then asked to take these and discern, through contemplation and prayer, how best to take action to be a man or woman for others, to be a citizen in our broken world. Georgetown won’t force an opinion on her students, but rather allows her students to grow as rational and moral beings in order to form their own consciences. Georgetown, as a good Catholic university should, gives students every tool to come to the conclusion that we are called to love and serve one another and this world ad majorem Dei gloriam. By inviting a diverse range of speakers, guests, faculty, staff, teachers, and students Georgetown strives toward that goal. Among those invited to our community there is such a diversity of opinions on matters such as healthcare, women’s issues, marriage, politics and how we best live out our faith. To stifle those differences and the dialogue between those who hold them is to extinguish the conversation and with it the development of people that may otherwise go on to change this world for the better, to do great things. When I say “great things” I’m not talking about making movies where little girls vomit pea soup onto priests, I’m talking about the real stuff, the Matthew 25:31-46 stuff.
    As an all-too-recent graduate of this university, I have to say the Catholic identity had a profound impact on me, and it has changed me for the better. Open your eyes, your ears, your hearts and your minds to what this university has to offer. I hope you then stand up and correct the next silly sophomore to say our Catholic identity means nothing, and correct the ancient alum who doesn’t realize the value and impact of Georgetown’s current Catholic identity. I do apologize, because I realize some will never really “get it” and are most likely doomed to boring 80 hour work weeks at J.P. Morgan.
    The world “catholic” means “all-embracing.” In either sense of the word, big C or little c, Georgetown lives up to its title as a Catholic university, even if not all Catholics or others can appreciate it from where they stand. I hope Georgetown will never stop saying, in the words of Father Maher, “come in, come in!”
    Hoya Saxa.

  17.  by  A real Catholic

    Go for it Blatty. I love Georgetown, I hope that this leads to the change will make Georgetown what the Carroll’s intended it to be. The persecutions of the Carrolls and the Catholics of Maryland led to the battle for freedom that allowed Georgetown to come into existence. I hope that the current administrations persecution of Catholics will lead to Georgetown becoming Catholic once again and not just a Catholic in name only school. At least Notre Dame is back on its feet. I will say the rosary and pray for the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas to save Georgetown. To all these students and alumni here who say “good I don’t even like Catholics” I wish you would at least respect the sufferings that Catholics bare in order to have this school exist, children being taken away from mothers, make shift churches being burnt to the ground, the horrors Catholics experienced. Yet the Patriotism and love of country helped form America, Georgetown is a symbol of those trials. Perhaps you should see the Tocqueville discussion from a few years ago on Charles Carroll by Bradley Birzer or as Deenen said before he quit the school, perhaps Georgetown needs to steal Birzer from Hillsdale College.

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  27.  by  Bob

    Ah, yes, Georgetown….I’ve heard it said that there used to be a very fine Catholic university in the very same spot.

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