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Blatty’s Canon Law Case to Reform Georgetown Goes to Vatican

Academy Award-winning writer and Georgetown University alumnus William Peter Blatty’s petition for the implementation of Ex corde Ecclesiae at his alma mater has been submitted to the Vatican.

Ex corde Ecclesiae is a papal constitution that refines and defines Catholic identity at Catholic institutions of higher learning. The apostolic constitution issued by Blessed Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1990, sought to ensure that the norms of the faith were being observed at these institutions, and it allows for the removal or suspension of a college or university’s Catholic status if they are not maintained.

A statement released today by Blatty’s lawyer and fellow Georgetown alumnus, Manuel Miranda, explains that this latest development comes with the “blessing and green light of the Archdiocese of Washington.”

The petition was initially submitted to Cardinal Donald Wuerl on behalf of hundreds of Georgetown alumni, students, faculty and others affiliated with the University. (See “Blatty Explains Canon Law Georgetown University Petition”.) Blatty, who is known for his best-selling book turned blockbuster film The Exorcist, explained, “The very first remedy that we asked of the archbishop of Washington, His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, was: ‘If the Holy Spirit leads you to it and your conscience will allow it, to declare publicly that Georgetown University is compliant with Ex corde Ecclesiae, orients its institutional initiatives according to standards that are consistent with the norms and morality of the Church, and lives up to the title ‘Catholic.’ His Eminence opted not to do that.” (Emphasis maintained from original written release.)

Miranda explained that the petition “is more than 200 pages and contains more than 480 footnotes, 99 appendices, 124 witness statements, and a commissioned 120-page institutional audit of Georgetown.  We have documented 23 years of scandals and dissidence, more than 100 scandals in the most recent years alone.” The 120-page audit was prepared by The Cardinal Newman Society at the request of the petitioners, who have organized as the Father King Society to Make Georgetown Honest, Catholic and Better.

Miranda also explained the formal nature of the document stating:

The canonical procedure being employed is not a ‘lawsuit,’ but reflects the Vatican II-inspired invitation to the Catholic faithful to make known their needs to the Catholic hierarchy.  The petition cites the Vatican Decree ordered by Pope Benedict XVI, issued on July 11, 2012, that the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, a prominent Latin American university, cease calling itself ‘Catholic’ and ‘Pontifical,’ while declaring at the same time that it continues to be ecclesiastical property and subject to Church law.

In conclusion Blatty said, “Our petition has been ‘submitted in prayer to the miraculous intercession of Blessed Pope John Paul II’ and is now with the supreme pontiff as he prepares to make Blessed John Paul a saint.”    

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