An immense petition in Canon Law put forward by Academy Award winner WIlliam Blatty...will Georgetown University finally get back to Catholic?
Georgetown is under attack. It is one of the most prominent Catholic Universities in the US and the life and wellbeing of this once beloved institution is slowly and surely being choked by the very people who should be protecting it.
A traditionally Jesuit-run university, its name has crept up before in the catholic headlines, with one scandalous story after another rising to the surface. However the situation is much more alarming than it seems, as a dangerously anti-catholic vision has taken root at the core of the institution, spreading its distorted and darkened attitude to the hearts and minds of its young alumni for the past 20 years.
Young faithful enroll in what they think will be a Catholic education, yet what they receive is attack after attack on their way of life in the very place where they should feel safe and guided in their faith.
However there is hope. Faithful Catholics from all over the country, led by Academy Award winner William Blatty (creator of The Exorcist) and Manuel Miranda (former president of the Cardinal Newman Society) have worked relentlessly to create The Petition.
This is no ordinary petition however. It is one made in canon law, submitted to his Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, brought forward by William Peter Blatty, for himself and as duly-empowered Representative, on behalf of more than 1000 of the Roman Catholic Faithful, delivered 31 May 2013; Submitted in prayer to the powerful intercessions of St. Jude Thaddeus and the miraculous intercession of Blessed John Paul II; Invoking the Spiritual Protection of the North American Martyrs.
This is a petition rooted in the Truth and ardent in the desire to bring Georgetown and its people back into communion with the beating heart of the Church, namely, Christ.
It’s purpose is to ask that “the Catholic Church will grant several remedies, including, if made necessary, the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit in its fundraising and representations to applicants.”
Manuel Miranda, who has recently been in Rome in order to bring their case to light within the Vatican, shares with Aleteia some of the details of their petition and how they are getting on.
He reveals that the petitioners, who comprise some 1200 people, “represent Laity from and outside the Archdiocese of Washington from almost every state in the United States (plus foreign countries and the armed services abroad), almost every graduation class of Georgetown University since 1950, clergy and religious, grandparents, parents, students, past and present faculty and staff members, and at least one trustee. Some are very prominent; all are injured and seek a remedy.”
He explains that for many years now Georgetown has not been living according to its Catholic name and that their petition contains 1200 eyewitness accounts of the various events and attitudes that reveal a blatant disregard and even contempt for the teachings of the Catholic Church and the authority of the Holy See.
Miranda shares with us some examples provided by these witnesses. The first is provided by an actual pupil of the university:
“I have met students in their second years at Georgetown who didn't even know that Georgetown was a Catholic school. They did not know that Jesuit meant Catholic….Last year’s dorm tours for accepted students who were deciding if they wanted to attend Georgetown, featured a dorm with pro-choice and Planned Parenthood paraphernalia plastered all over the door and walls. Condoms were taped to the door… If that did not drive Catholics away from campus I do not know what else will…”
A second testimony is made by a former pupil of Georgetown:
“My Catholic lifestyle and convictions were sometimes attacked by student organizations and staff members, themselves underpinned by tacit and even explicit university endorsement. Far beyond nuanced scrutiny or respectful debate, my convictions, especially those regarding the dignity of human life, were instead the subject of sweeping condemnation, even at university-sponsored events.
“My cultural identity was insulted; my intellectual autonomy and personal agency were denied in order to render my voice inconsequential. On those occasions I came to wonder why, at a Catholic institution, I was so ridiculed for my Catholicism. I sometimes felt betrayed by a campus culture which discouraged faithfulness, even while banners everywhere touted the ideal of “faith in action.”
Miranda also revealed to Aleteia a testimony by one of the professors at the university:
“I have taught at Georgetown for many years. During this time, I have seen the influence of the Catholic Church decrease and secular humanism rise. I find this very disturbing. I have seen the number of times that prayer has been offered in official ceremonies decrease. I have seen pro-abortion groups become louder and louder.
“I have seen the LGBTQ interest group become institutionalized and its members not just be accepted and loved (as they should be) but strengthened in their convictions and vocal in pushing their unhealthy agenda. A ‘Lavender Prom’ was the latest evidence of this, where they were recognized and applauded by the rest of the university. It seems whomever we take money from sets the agenda for Georgetown, no longer the Catholic Church…This is a sad development and I long for the Georgetown I came to love years ago.”
In this monumental petition Blatty & co. make a fervent plea to his Eminence that he now exercise his authority in order “to end the Scandals and the despair and confusion caused to the Faithful by Georgetown’s willful 22-year non-compliance with Ex corde, and to defend the faith of the simple and the moral teachings of the Church, the integrity of all other more truly Catholic institutions, and to save the minds, the bodies and the souls of the young and old who may be captured through Georgetown University by the ideology of radical autonomy – the Enemy who masquerades as The Light.”
The petition is currently under consideration by the Cardinal, who will be required to answer within the next month. Prayers are thus need by all truth seeking Catholics.
William Blatty himself has called upon all people of faith around the world to pray for his Eminence. “With prayer, we will count a positive response to our Petition as a miracle of Blessed John Paul,” Blatty said.
“Blessed John Paul is my inspiration,” he added.
Rachel Pugh, Director of Communications at Georgetown has denied the accusations made against the university. “Our Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger. Academically, we remain committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition” she stated, referring to two courses that they hold in theology and philosophy, as well as masses held on campus.
“We are proud of the countless ways that our students put their faith into action through service and justice programs” she continued.
However Blatty has responded to Pugh’s remarks, saying: “Georgetown’s defense is like a dancer doing pirouettes on the edge of the absurd…My old stomping ground Brooklyn has lots of Masses offered every day and yet Brooklyn, oddly, is not Catholic.”
“Talking about ‘Masses offered on campus’ is like putting up a ‘Potemkin village,” he continued, “and reminds us of Pope Benedict’s warning just one year ago.”
Blatty refers to the warning of the retired Holy Father on 5 May 2012, where he made a speech to American bishops with regards to the preservation of a university’s Catholic identity. “[A university] entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus” said Benedict.
Blatty further commented that actually “there is not a single Theology professor at Georgetown with the mandatum license needed to teach Catholic theology. Not one!”
Therefore let us pray that Cardinal Wuerl be enlightened by the Holy Spirit in his decision about what to do with Georgetown.