‘The last straw’: Georgetown alum and ‘Exorcist’ author canonically sues school after Sebelius row
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - William Peter Blatty knows a thing or two about what happens when a hostile presence infiltrates Catholic bodies.
Blatty, author of both novel and film versions of the horror classic The Exorcist, is getting ready to launch a canonical suit against alma mater Georgetown University, calling U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ appearance as commencement speaker “the last straw” in the school’s relinquishing of Catholic identity.
“The scandals that Georgetown has given to the faithful are too many to count and too many to ignore any longer,” said Blatty in an announcement.
The graduate of Georgetown’s Class of 1950 announced the creation of The Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic and Better, under which Blatty plans to launch canonical action against the school seeking remedies “up to and including the possible removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic or Jesuit in its fundraising and representations to applicants.”
The Society, named after late Georgetown theology professor Fr. Thomas King, S.J., had been planned prior to the Sebelius scandal, but was hastened after Blatty learned the top Obama official would be featured at a diploma ceremony for the school’s Public Policy Institute.
Following an unusually strong rebuke in an unsigned editorial in the Archdiocesan newspaper, Georgetown’s president continued to defend the Sebelius invitation, arguing in a statement Monday that Sebelius was invited before she issued the mandate, and that the gesture “should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views.”
“We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas,” stated John J. DiGoia, whom Blatty notes is the school’s first lay leader.
Sebelius, a Catholic, is the architect of the federal mandate decried unanimously by U.S. bishops as an unprecedented attack on religious liberty for forcing religious groups to purchase birth control and sterilization coverage.
Blatty states in an announcement from The Father Kings Society that its Canon Law action is based on Georgetown’s “failure for more than two decades to comply with the requirements of Ex corde Ecclesiae,” the Vatican’s guidelines for universities maintaining the Catholic identity.
“Of course, what we truly seek is for Georgetown to have the vision and courage to be Catholic, but clearly the slow pastoral approach has not worked. Georgetown is being dishonest. Together, we need to end that!” he said.
The Acadamy Award-winning author had hard words for “the laity, the clergy, and the bishops as well” for allowing Georgetown alumni throughout the years to be “seduced to ‘go along’ by dinners, medals, and board seats,” saying, “We have all been negligent too long.”
“Many believe that to make Georgetown truly Catholic is to turn back the clock hands and somehow limit its very nature as a university, as if the notion of ‘Catholic’ and ‘university’ are new to each other, or inherently at odds. On the contrary, to make Georgetown ‘Catholic’ is to move the clock forward; it is to make the University better than it now is!” he wrote.
“Of course, there are always those who are afraid of change - who lack vision. They may need to step aside.”
The Fr. King Society has joined forces with the Cardinal Newman Society, which has spearheaded a response to the Georgetown scandal with a petition that garnered over 36,000 signatures protesting the Sebelius invitation. CNS also led the response to the University of Notre Dame’s honoring President Obama in 2009.
The Society notes that DeGioia, as Dean of Student Affairs, has been the subject of canonical action in 1991 after he authorized funding and support for a pro-abortion student advocacy group. Petitioners appealed directly to John Paul II, and after DeGoia personally flew to Rome, the authorization was reversed weeks later.