Vatican actually taking Blatty petition seriously, pledges to review its grievances

Update (2:15 p.m.) In response to a request for comment, University Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh wrote in an email to Vox that Georgetown has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican, the Archdiocese of Washington, or the Society of Jesus about the petition.

“In the past month we have been proud to partner with the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Washington to promote our shared Catholic identity through major cultural events – most recently a concert last week celebrating the sainthood of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII and a three day cultural conference, which was the Vatican’s first Courtyard of the Gentiles event in the United States,” Pugh wrote. Additionally, Pugh stressed Georgetown’s theology requirement for all undergraduate students, its campus ministry community (the largest in the country), and the numerous Catholic services held every Sunday.

In a letter dated April 4 (the mail must be very slow in the Vatican), Archbishop Angelo Zani, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, officially responded to a petition, organized by William Blatty (COL ’50), to review and remove Georgetown’s official status as a Catholic university. Although Zani went as far to describe Blatty’s petition as a “well-founded complaint,” the Vatican has chosen not to take Georgetown down the path of “hierarchical recourse” but will work with the Society of Jesus to address Blatty’s concerns.

Blatty, author of The Exorcist, began petitioning the Church to review and revoke Georgetown’s Catholic status two years ago. His online petition has garnered over 2,000 signatures and claims that Georgetown is not in accordance with Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Church’s set of requirements for Catholic universities.

Blatty’s “GU non-compliance checklist” is long and redundant, but, essentially, boils down to the fact that he believes that Georgetown supports views and organizations which directly contradict Catholic moral teaching.

Blatty and his lawyer, Manuel Miranda (SFS ’82), are spinning the Vatican’s response as a victory and affirmation of their views.

“As the author of the ‘well-founded complaint,’ we feel vindicated, not only in our substance but also in how we raised our petition procedurally, especially when I recall all the handwringers, naysayers, and Kumbaya critics at the start,” Miranda wrote.

“We petitioned the Vatican, as Pope Francis has invited the Laity to do, and made known our needs,” Miranda wrote. “What the faithful need is for the Georgetown scandal to end, and also for the American bishops to stop their neglect of American Catholic higher education.”

The Congregation for Catholic Education, however, has chosen not to invoke the hierarchical recourse against Georgetown and will, instead, use a more informal process of review that will work with the Jesuits.

Miranda and Blatty are hoping that Pope Francis and his appointees will finally act on the petition’s complaints.

Francis may be outrageously awesome and inviting, but, in July, 2012, he followed-up on the actions of his pontifical predecessor and stripped the University of Peru of its official Catholic status for its years of non-compliance with Ex corde Ecclesiae.

Vox doubts that Georgetown will be the next to be exorcised of its Catholicism, but that’s certainly one possibility. Given the Church’s typical pace for getting stuff done, the Class of 2065 could be the first non-Catholic graduating class in Georgetown’s history.

For more on the debate over Georgetown’s Catholic identity, check out the Voice‘s feature on the topic from this past winter.

Photo: Alyson Hurt via Flickr

10 Comments on “Vatican actually taking Blatty petition seriously, pledges to review its grievances

  1. William Blatty’s mother sucks cocks in hell

  2. Good one, “Smoke of Satan!” Other than strongly desiring to meet with you personally to discuss what he feels is the error of your ways and offer you “death without the sacraments,” he must be eating his cookies over putting that comment out there for all the world to see the close relationship of some of the Petition’s critics to tongue lolling, moronic hyenas.

  3. Because a guy who makes movies with underage girls masturbating with crucifixes obviously reserves the right to past judgement on Georgetown.

  4. And now another of the current crop of the Georgetown literati speaks! Keep it up, poor dears. Let the world see who you are.

  5. Not meaning to quibble but how are Blatty and Miranda “spinning” when the Vatican has just told them they have a “well founded complaint?” Further, how are they “hoping” the Vatican will do something about it when the Vatican has just told them that they intend to by working through the Jesuit order? The legitimate question, of course, remains whether or not the Jesuits intend to cooperate. Considering that Francis is a steely hand in a velvet glove, a Jesuit himself and knows where the bodies in the Order are buried, it would appear to be prudent for them to do so.

  6. @svashtar

    It’s spinning because the Vatican hasn’t actually done anything. All they’ve done is played nice with Blatty. Read the update at the top of the post. The Vatican official replied to Blatty on April 4 and Georgetown has yet to receive any official statement from either the Vatican or the Jesuits. That’s slow, even by Catholic Church standards. Same goes for the “hoping” thing. They’re hoping Georgetown receives an actual punishment and is forced to change at least some of the things Blatty has a problem with. So far, none of that’s happened.

  7. A month is “slow”by Catholic ( Vatican) standards? You’re kidding me, right? In addition, not one of your other assertions has any taint of reason or the wispiest relationship to any fact I have ever heard of.

  8. @svashtar

    Settle down, big guy. All I’m arguing is that Blatty and his supporters should keep their mouths shut and keep the celebratory holy water corked until some meaningful change has been brought to Georgetown. Because right now all it is is a lot of talk.

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