The 1973 film “The Exorcist” has come back to haunt Georgetown University. William Peter Blatty, class of 1950 Georgetown graduate, and author of the 1971 same-name novel “The Exorcist” is filing a lawsuit against Georgetown University in regards to its supposedly fading Roman Catholic identity.
According to Blatty, his alma mater has not been adhering to its Catholic identity. Georgetown University, founded in 1789 and the oldest Catholic and Jesuit University in the U.S., is having the rug pulled out from under it by a well-known alumnus. The Catholic university, Blatty and others contend, has defied church doctrine on issues such as homosexuality and abortion.
Blatty is speaking for 1,200 university alumni, parents, students, faculty and other Catholics through his petition, calling for Georgetown to comply with Ex Corde Ecclesiae in defending the university’s Catholic roots. Blatty is calling for more Georgetown University Catholic students and alumni alike to arms in the form of a canon suit against the university.
Georgetown University officials disagree with the allegations by Blatty and other of not being as true to Catholicism as it once was. “Our Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger,” said Rachel Pugh, university spokesperson.
The university maintains its academic standards of requiring theology and philosophy courses. Students of Georgetown University have numerous ways to expand their knowledge of Catholicism and strengthen their faith, including the opportunity to attend one or more of as many seven Masses on Sundays in Dahlgren Chapel, which is only one among the five Catholic chapels Georgetown campuses.
“All undergraduate students, for example, take two semesters of theology and two semesters of philosophy before graduation,” said Pugh. “Georgetown supports the largest ministry in the country.”
Georgetown University has not yet seen the petition delivered to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Blatty has not yet received an official response from the university.
As for how the lawsuit will go, time will only tell if the suit will “purify” Georgetown or if Blatty will tumble down the stairs.
See previous Georgetowner article