College Guide


June 10, 2013 1:40 PM Georgetown: Not Catholic Enough?

By Daniel Luzer


The author of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty, has filed a complaint with the archbishop of Washington, DC, because he doesn’t think that Georgetown University (above), his alma mater, is being Catholic enough.

According to an article in the Washington Post:

The author says that Georgetown has violated church teaching for decades by inviting speakers who support abortion rights and refusing to obey instructions the late Pope John Paul II issued in 1990 to church-affiliated colleges and universities.
Georgetown should amend its ways or stop calling itself a Catholic or Jesuit institution, Blatty said.

Just imagine how the Baptists feel about Brown University….

Blatty’s petition, signed by about 1,200 other Catholics, complains that Georgetown is not in compliance with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II’s 1991 statement about Catholic-affiliated institutions of higher learning.

Blatty maintains that recent Georgetown behavior, including staging a performance of the Vagina Monologues, teaching sex education, hosting openly gay Georgetown alumnus Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and inviting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak to graduating public policy students last month, violiate the 1991 decree.

Like with diversity recommendations, however, precisely what the late pope’s directive entails is a little ambiguous.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae is full of statements about the importance of Catholic institutions integrating “religious and moral principles with their academic study and non-academic activities” and how “the university community should give a practical demonstration of its faith in its daily activity,” but it doesn’t get all that precise in the details.

There are no specific prohibitions against performance art celebrating the vagina, inviting homosexuals to speak on campus, or even providing instruction about contraception. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • mikeyes on June 10, 2013 9:48 PM:

    I'm sure the Jesuits are quaking in their boots.

    In the first place the bishop has no say in the workings of Georgetown University, it is a Jesuit University and not subject to the DC Ordinary.

    Second, even if the bishop objects, he will have to bump it up to the pope, a former Jesuit himself, and back down to the "Black Pope" (the head of the Jesuits) and it is likely to get lost in the mean time.

    Third, These are the Jesuits, they will be able to reason their way out of any trouble if it comes to that.

  • low-tech cyclist on June 11, 2013 4:16 PM:

    I've a good mind to push Blatty down a certain set of stairs...but just because it would be a wonderfully ironic prank. After all, I really don't have a dog in this fight.

    But a shout-out to Dr. Robert Groves, who left the Census Bureau a year ago to become provost at Georgetown: this is what you walked into, buddy. You shouldn't have gone over to the dark side.

  • Brian M on June 11, 2013 5:03 PM:

    It's the same up in Boston...

    Thousands of students received their diplomas at Boston College Monday morning, but not everyone at the commencement was celebrating.

    Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny received a hesitant standing ovation after giving the commencement speech at the Catholic university. Kenny recently supported limited abortion in Ireland if the mother�s life was in danger, including from the threat of suicide.

    Pro-life supporters were outraged saying Kenny is pro-abortion.

    �This university, like all Catholic universities, need to protect their Catholic identity and this is another point of slippage from that and it�s unfortunate,� said Peter Valy, whose son graduated from BC.

    Valy protested the ceremony even though his son was one of the students graduating. After holding a sign outside the ceremony, he and his wife still went inside to watch and listen.

    �I want to honor my son, seeing him get his diploma. I�m not going to stand up for the speaker�s remarks,� said Valy.

    When Boston College invited Kenny, Boston Cardinal Sean O�Malley said he would boycott the commencement. Typically, Cardinal O�Malley gives the closing prayer.

    The school still stands by its choice saying Kenny has a long record supporting human rights.

    �Regardless of his beliefs, we�ve heard he�s done great amounts of stuff -- so yeah, we�re excited,� said one graduate.

    Students said they understand why some feel so strongly against Kenny speaking at the Jesuit school�s graduation.

  • THEGEMINI on June 11, 2013 5:11 PM:

    The first two assertions you make are completely false.