Author of “The Exorcist” building suit against Georgetown U for not living up to Catholic identity

Here is an interesting development. From CNA:

‘Exorcist’ author prepares canon lawsuit against Georgetown
By Michelle Bauman

Washington D.C., May 19, 2012 / 05:03 pm (CNA).- The author of the best-selling book and award-winning screenplay “The Exorcist” has announced that he is leading an effort to file a canon lawsuit against Georgetown University for failures to live up to the demands of the school’s Catholic identity.

William P. Blatty, who graduated from Georgetown in 1950, told CNA on May 18 that he believes there is a need for disciplinary action against the university.

“As I recall it, the Lord knocked over a few tables,” he said.

Blatty, who has been honored by Georgetown with the John Carroll Medal for alumni achievement, will lead other alumni, students and members of the university community in the newly-formed Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic, and Better.

The society is named for the late Jesuit Fr. Thomas M. King, a former theology professor at Georgetown who was rumored to be the inspiration for the priestly character in “The Exorcist.”

Its website encourages members of the Georgetown community to join the canon lawsuit and share their grievances against the university with Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C. and Pope Benedict XVI.

It also asks them to withhold their donations from the school for one year.

Blatty believes that Georgetown has given scandal to the faithful on numerous occasions and has refused to comply with “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” the document issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990 to outline the functions of Catholic universities.


Take a look at the rest of the story as you have time.

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  1. Supertradmum says:

    This is an excellent suit. But, look what happened at St. Louis University, which chose to drop the name Catholic after a lawsuit. The only value in this is that Georgetown may be faced to do the same. Kinda like “false advertising” on television or labels, such universities and colleges must stop pretending that they are Catholic.

    As to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, this extremely important document has been ignored world-wide, not just in the States. If every primary school, high school, college and university, which calls itself Catholic followed that document, made the faculty members take the Oath and make the Promise, we would have not only a different, real generation of Catholics in America, but in the world. Not one Catholic academic institution, that I know of in Britain, has enforced Ex Corde Ecclesiae, to the detriment of thousands of students over the years. I have been told by priests it is a money issue. That attitude is despicable. Catholic education cannot be bartered for government interference. The salvation of souls has been compromised.

    Ex Corde Ecclesiae is a necessity. The Oath and Promise are necessities, but the bishops have chosen to ignore these. I switched to teaching in NAPCIS schools and supporting such because of the huge problems of trying to change parochial schools, diocesan high schools, and colleges, as well as universities. I have a NAPCIS Master’s Teacher Certification and would recommend any Catholic parent to look into schools which make their teachers take these courses, take the Oath and make the Promise. NAPCIS takes Ex Corde Ecclesiae seriously and has help create schools at several levels to be truly Catholic.

    We had the means in the Church to deal with false teaching and bad example from teachers, but the means were ignored and despised. As I wrote on my blog just the other day, I would hate to stand before God as a Catholic teacher and see Him point to those students in hell brought there by laxity and heresy on my part.

    I hope this lawsuit accomplishes something. The rot, in my mind, set in a very long time ago. I knew at least one nominal Catholic professor who left ND years ago to teach at Georgetown. He was a liberal Catholic at ND and a liberal Catholic at Georgetown, that was over thirty years ago. I wonder if it is too late. God bless this new effort.

  2. Traductora says:

    It’s truly unfortunate that a layman is being forced to consider legal action to get a bishop to do his job, but maybe it will take something like this to get the attention of the heirarchy. We have some fine new bishops, but they are facing a situation where their predecessors were either sympathetic to the liberal cause at these universities or were too timid to confront them, with the result that these institutions have been running their own show for over 40 years now and have become convinced that they are sort of little Vaticans of their own. The Magisterium of College Professors and Politicians (with members such as [heretical professor of your choice], Obama, Pelosi, etc.) is no better than the Magisterium of Nuns.

    Cdl Wuerl is not one of our better bishops, and I don’t know whether this is timidity or sympathy with the liberal cause. But I think Cdl Wuerl’s abandonment of his responsibilities is particularly egregious, given the number and prominence of the schools that are within his geographical territory and hence authority, and it is giving aid and comfort to rebellious universities in other parts of the country and world. Perhaps Blatty’s actions will shake things up a little.

  3. LisaP. says:

    Out of this world perfect! Wonderful!

  4. Papabile says:

    This is great in one sense, but Blatty needs to be careful.

    When Jason Kenney (, Canada’s current Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, canonically sued the University of San Francisco in the late 80’s, some important precedent was established.

    1. Alumni may not have the equivalent of what is commonly called “standing” to sue.
    2. It is important to have both CURRENT students and alumni assign a procurator for the case.
    3. It would be good to have a tenured member of the faculty also be a party to the lawsuit.

    I am happy Blatty is doing this. And I know Chuck Wilson down at the St. Joseph Foundation will move forward in a prudential way.

    It is important to remember that cases like this may take years, so Blatty needs to financially prepare it for that.

  5. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    I think this is more about prompting the Cardinal to do something more than express disappointment.

    There comes a time when bishops need to recognize that by not culling a particular weed, they are allowing the surrounding wheat to be choked out.

    50 years of patiently letting the wheat and the weeds to grow together for fear of uprooting the wheat has led to fields overrun with weeds.

    There is a limit as to how long a bishop should wait before addressing certain problems. The laity see the damage on the form of choked out wheat in the families, among their friends, and in the work place. For some reason, the bishops have been slow to connect the empty pews to their long over due need to pull some weeds.

  6. albizzi says:

    Yes, strike them where it hurts: In their wallets.
    Stop donations.

  7. ray from mn says:

    May any Catholic sue a bishop, or a “Catholic” institution? Do we all have standing in all issues? Or would we have to be employees or alumni of, for example, Georgetown U?

  8. everett says:


    It’s important to note that this is a canon lawsuit, not a civil lawsuit. I’m not sure what the requirements are as far as standing, but I’m sure they’re different than in civil law.

  9. Father K says:

    Maybe Georgetown needs an exorcism…

  10. Joker Phinn says:

    Someone remind the Jesuits — ever so gently — of ‘Dominas ac redemptor’.

  11. Juergensen says:

    So a lay Catholic must take action because the bishops in general and the Archbishop of Washington in particular do nothing.

  12. albizzi says:

    Here is what have become the former Pope’s G.I.s
    Will the “Domini Canes” take their place?

  13. The Cobbler says:

    “It’s truly unfortunate that a layman is being forced to consider legal action to get a bishop to do his job, but maybe it will take something like this to get the attention of the heirarchy.”
    “So a lay Catholic must take action because the bishops in general and the Archbishop of Washington in particular do nothing.”

    In situations as unfortunate as this, we laymen are often faced with two choices: be silent and let the illness fester, or speak out even against bishops and be criticized for making ourselves judges of the authorities who are over us in the Church.

    With canon law, however, there is a third choice: to bring our case to the Church who will assess the issue and take action on our behalf.

    It hardly ever works perfectly, both because those investigating are only human and because those enforcing have limited means of control despite their spiritual/theological/moral authority. However, in principle I think it’s positively splendid that the Church gives us the opportunity to address issues such as unCatholic “Catholic” universities or abuse by a famous priest * without necessarily doing anything to be labelled (or, if that’s unavoidable, to deserve the labels) “uppity”, “judgemental”, “self-aggrandizing” or “putting themselves above authority”.

    *There are many cases where this issue was ignored or mishandled in the past few decades, a few that are still being hashed out now that these accusations are taken seriously even where a priest could make a good case for his innocence, but it has at times worked — even if slowly and much delayed… Take Maciel being disciplined for sexual abuse, for example (granting that what went down was the Church equivalent of settling out of court, but to my understanding the fact remains that the Church looked into the accusations, found them credible, and then proposed the discipline as a way to let them save fighting through a canon law trial though they could have had Maciel chosen to defend his innocence formally…).

  14. Papabile says:


    I say that based on experience when I prepared a Canon lawsuit against CUA – after consulting with Jason Kenney and The St. Joseph’s Foundation. It was never ultimately filed. But the issue of “standing” (I forget what the actual term was) was a very real one.

  15. ContraMundum says:

    It would be good to have a tenured member of the faculty also be a party to the lawsuit.

    Good luck at getting a non-tenured member of the faculty to sue his employer!

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    William P. Blatty, my new hero. God bless all involved in this, and the effort.

  17. Ed the Roman says:

    An old friend, who is very liberal, met Fr. King as a student. I’ll have to ask him what he thinks of this.

    The friend did not attend Georgetown.

  18. SonofMonica says:

    I am surprised we have not heard anything from WDTPRS’s semi-resident canon law expert.

  19. brotherfee says:

    I too am happy with this lawsuit. How can an organization define itself as being Catholic? Are there not certain rules they have to follow? I get so tired of politicians saying that their “Catholic” education prepared them for backing abortions and same sex marriages. Or that colleges state that their policies are not against papal authority, but invite a ”dialogue” for discussion. Enough already! How do we reclaim the church? We need more bulldogs (or hoyas) to step up.

    “Years ago when this college taught Latin and Greek” will become “years ago when this college was considered to be Catholic”. Very sad.

  20. doozer125 says:

    Where’s a “Like” button?

  21. Traductora says:

    papabile and everett,

    How was standing resolved?

  22. Cathy says:

    You know, for some reason I keep thinking about the Gospel in which Our Lord drives out Legion and permits the demons to enter the herd of swine, which immediately run over the cliff to drown in the sea. The people were so upset about the loss of profit that they did not recognize that the Good Shepherd protected them from Legion even considering the request to enter the people themselves, and, as opposed to being grateful, they asked our Savior to leave them. I guess I can’t get the image of Kathleen Sebelius at Georgetown out of my mind and the response of the students-applause- when one who stood in protest was hauled out of the arena. I can certainly acknowledge that, in turning back to its Catholic identity, Georgetown stands to lose worldly profit. On the other hand, if it does not, it is simply an institution, an impetus which throws the pearl of our Catholic identity before swine and will lead not to salvation, but serve to hurl an entire generation over the cliff.

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