On October 4, the complaint that William Peter Blatty (COL ’50) filed against Georgetown in May 2013 was submitted for review to Pope Francis I. According to the Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic and Better, the organization Blatty created after he first threatened to file a canon lawsuit against his alma mater in May 2012, over 2,000 Catholics have signed his petition to show that they agree with Blatty’s complaints against the University, and apparently with terrible petition names as well.
Pope Francis has not yet made any comment on the complaint, probably because he’ll be wading through it for quite a while. According to Blatty’s counsel, Manuel A. Miranda, “The Petition submitted to the Pope is more than 200 pages and contains more than 480 footnotes, 99 appendices, 124 witness statements, and a commissioned 120-page institutional audit of Georgetown.” Those 200 pages document 23 years’ worth of the University’s actions with which Blatty, author of the Exorcist, does not agree. (Too much pea soup at Leo’s?)
Blatty seems confident in his complaint, commenting that his first course of action was to ask Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl to publicly declare that Georgetown’s institutional practices are in keeping with Catholic morality if he felt that he could do so in good conscience. As Blatty added, “His Eminence opted not to do that.”
Spurred on by Georgetown’s decision to host Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius as 2012 commencement speaker, Blatty said in his initial open letter that the purpose of the petition was to either strip Georgetown of its Catholic identity or force the University into line with Church doctrine.
In The Father King Society’s latest statement, Blatty and his allies seem no less convinced that the University has transgressed. “Academic freedom is now prisoner to intolerant new orthodoxies,” Miranda said of Georgetown, “and Catholic moral teaching has surrendered to the dictatorship of moral relativism.”
Let’s hope that the complaint against Georgetown is as much a page-turner as the Exorcist because Blatty does not seem ready to back down. Pope Francis will just have to make his way through all 200 pages.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures via ugo.com