William Peter Blatty, Georgetown, and the Congregation for Catholic Education: Headed for the circular file?

 

The narrative is pretty common today. An alumnus of a Catholic university believes his Alma Mater is failing to uphold in a significant and meaningful way her Catholic identity. So, this alumnus collects signatories on a petition and sends the petition to the members of the institution’s Board and administration. All of which goes nowhere, as everyone decides to ignore the stormy petrils.

This particular narrative takes a different turn, however, as the alumnus is William Peter Blatty—author of The Exorcist—whose Alma Mater is Georgetown University. Moreover, rather than have his petition go nowhere except into the circular file, Blatty decides to exercise his canonical rights, sending his petition containing 2k+ names to the Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE) asking that the Congregation “require that Georgetown implement Ex corde Ecclesiae, a papal constitution governing Catholic colleges.” Failing that, the petition asked the Congregation to strip Georgetown of its right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit. Let there be not doubt: Blatty is serious. He believes that neither Georgetown’s faculty nor its students are exemplary of the faith.

In a letter sent to Blatty dated April 4, 2014, the CCE’s Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Zani, stated that CCE cannot grant Blatty’s request for “hierarchic recourse” because Blatty is not able to demonstrate that he has “suffered an objective change in his/her condition due to an administrative act.” However, Zani did write:

Your communications to this dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University…constitute a well-founded complaint. Our congregation is taking the issue seriously and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.

(click on the image below to read the letter in its entirety.)

cec letter

At this time, precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?

One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”

Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/05/14/vatican-responds-criticism-georgetown-u#ixzz31hSL4lqW

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

18 Responses to William Peter Blatty, Georgetown, and the Congregation for Catholic Education: Headed for the circular file?

  • Stay with it Blatty!
    Don’t give up!
    Some demons need more time than others to be expelled from a body.
    Heck! You already know that!
    It’s going to take nine or ten defenders of the faith organizing similar efforts across the country to call the CCE to the mat. Let’s help where we can.
    Let the CCE know that enough is enough.
    That the Universities will be Catholic in whole, or not Catholic in title.

    Blatty. Don’t give up! Let the heads spin and vomit flow until the demons exit.

  • Georgetown covered its crucifixes as a concession to Obama’s White House. Does anyone really believe that Blatty’s petition alone will cause college administrators who have denied Christ to sit up and take notice?
    .
    Nope…the alumni and all other donors must refuse to fund Georgetown’s endowment. No restoration of Catholicism…no money.

  • slainte: “Nope…the alumni and all other donors must refuse to fund Georgetown’s endowment. No restoration of Catholicism…no money.”
    .
    This works.
    .
    Georgetown covered Jesus’ name to satisfy Obama. Full one third of the student body and one half of the faculty on stage removed themselves when Cardinal Arinze spoke against homosexual behavior. Evidently, the student body is not being inculcated with Catholic principles or manners. This precipitated Notre Dame giving Obama an honorary degree for denying the posterity of our nation.
    .
    They will never know how much money they will not be getting.

  • Georgetown? Catholic? When?

  • Mary DeVoe writes, “…They will never know how much money they will not be getting.”
    .
    Sure they will Mary especially if Mr. Blatty makes his case to Georgetown’s generous alumni and petitions them to redirect their donations to the Franciscan University of Steubenville instead of Georgetown….of course all the while providing a copy of said check(s) with an explanatory memo to the President of Georgetown Univ. and to Mr. Blatty.

  • Penguins Fan writes, “Georgetown? Catholic? When?”
    .
    Now that you mention it…W. Peter Blatty did write “The Exorcist”, not the “Passion of the Christ”…maybe the Catholicism problem at Georgetown has been going on for much longer than we realized. : )

  • Yes it may be canned in the round file, but as slainte says there can be well thought out follow up.
    What would really be great would be to convert or “re”vert those Catholics in charge at Georgetown… and Notre Dame etc, etc. There is always hope!

  • Slainté wrote, “the alumni and all other donors must refuse to fund Georgetown’s endowment. No restoration of Catholicism…no money..”

    What of the existing endowments?

    Bear with me3, if I recall some remarks from the famous Scottish case of Bannatyne v Overtoun [[1904] AC 515] known as the Free Church case.
    A small dissenting minority claimed that the Free Church had departed from certain principles enshrined in its founding documents and that the endowments of the Church, subscribed for the support of Free Church principles belonged to the minority that maintained them, rather than to those who had abandoned them.

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Halsbury, put the matter succinctly, when he said that “when men subscribe money for a particular object, and leave it behind them for the promotion of that object, their successors have no right to change the object endowed,” for “there is nothing in calling an associated body a Church that exempts it from the legal obligations of insisting that money given for one purpose shall not be devoted to another.”

    Likewise, Lord Alverstone CJ said that He was unable “to support a judgment which would deprive the persons, forming a minority, of their rights, simply on the ground that they are unwilling to become members of a body which has not only abandoned the fundamental principles of the Church to which they belong, but supports a principle essentially different from that on which the Church was founded.”

    Substitute “university” for “church” and the reasoning remains equally valid. Those entrusted with money or other assets for a special and limited purpose have no right, “wickedly and feloniously, and in breach of the trust reposed in them,” to “embezzle and appropriate to their own uses and purposes” the property they hold in trust.

  • Subscribing alumni should review the terms of their agreements with legal counsel to determine whether redirecting their funds within Catholic academia constitutes an actionable breach; then respond accordingly.
    .
    Moreover any other funding of Georgetown including campaign fund raising and establishing scholarships, etc. should either be redirected to a legitimately Catholic institution or placed on hold pending restoration of Catholicism at Georgetown.
    .
    Aggrieved alumni acting in defense of the Faith have options.

  • slainte.

    Great idea.
    Accountability!

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Likewise, Lord Alverstone CJ said that He was unable “to support a judgment which would deprive the persons, forming a minority, of their rights, simply on the ground that they are unwilling to become members of a body which has not only abandoned the fundamental principles of the Church to which they belong, but supports a principle essentially different from that on which the Church was founded.”
    Substitute “university” for “church” and the reasoning remains equally valid. Those entrusted with money or other assets for a special and limited purpose have no right, “wickedly and feloniously, and in breach of the trust reposed in them,” to “embezzle and appropriate to their own uses and purposes” the property they hold in trust.”
    .
    Endowments to a Catholic University are given to a Catholic University. It is that simple. If you do not adhere to Catholic principles give the money back. It is not yours.

  • “Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.” Not so. It’s moving higher up.

  • False advertizing, too, might be looked into as a non-profit.org advertizes as a Catholic University, when it is anti-Catholic and a fraud. Not only Georgetown, but Notre Dame, Fordham, and all, teaching everything but Catholicism ought to be forbidden by false advertising laws from swindling prospective customers and corrupting the upcoming generation.

  • I, too, went to a Catholic, Jesuit university that is slowly becoming a state school due to its lack of adherence to Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Several weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the President and the Vice President for Mission about my concerns. I received no response. I certainly don’t have the clout of Mr. Blatty but I plan to do what I can to show my disappointment. No more money, no attending athletic events, and turning in my specialty license plate, a portion of the proceeds of which goes to the university.

    I’m heartbroken that the school I once was so proud of has fallen so far.

  • Heck, even Obama knows when a university, as U of Seattle, is not Catholic and therefore not exempt from his insane mandate.

  • Claire.

    God bless you.
    Keep writing.
    Take this to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Ask him to help.

    It’s going to take thousands of letters from Catholics like you, and in the end, one by one, the Universities will abide.

    Keep at it, and blessings to you.

  • Thanks Philip. Yes, I plan to keep writing to the powers that be at the school and talking to other alumni. My daughter is also a graduate of the university and she’s as upset as I am. We’re both praying!!

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