Novelist William Peter Blatty -- author of "The Exorcist" -- has filed a formal canonical lawsuit asking the Vatican to protect the Catholic identity of Georgetown University (GU), the Catholic Culture website reports today (October 5, 2013).
Blatty -- a Georgetown alumnus himself -- collected more than 2,000 signatures on an accompanying petition, urging the "Catholic Church to require that Georgetown implement 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae,' a papal constitution governing Catholic colleges." If Georgetown does not restore its Catholic identity, the petition calls for "the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown's right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit in any of its representations."
The canonical petition -- a lengthy document supported by 124 witness statements -- argues that Georgetown has regularly flouted Catholic Church teaching and discipline, and failed to provide its students with authentic Catholic instruction. For example, last year Georgetown selected the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services -- an outspoken abortion supporter -- to be the speaker at its graduation ceremony.
The petition has been submitted to the Vatican Secretariat of State and to the Congregations for Education and for Religious.