Author of 'The Exorcist' Threatens Suit Against His Alma Mater, Georgetown University

Exorcist Steps, 3600 M Street (or Prospect Street), depending on which you are going.
Courtesy of Georgetown University
Exorcist Steps, 3600 M Street (or Prospect Street), depending on which you are going.

But wait, there's more, and it involves one of the most famous authors to graduate from Georgetown University. And you thought Father Damien had problems.

While Georgetown University was criticized for its invitation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at one of its commencement events and the Archdiocese of Washington joined at least 40 Catholic dioceses, schools or groups in suing the federal government in several districts for its healthcare requirements, another suit involving the Catholic world was threatened last week.

Georgetown alumnus, William Peter Blatty, who penned the satanic blockbuster, "The Exorcist," and put Georgetown into horror film history, accuses his alma mater of turning away from its Roman Catholic commitments.

"For 21 years now, Georgetown University has refused to comply with Ex corde Ecclesiaie (“From The Heart of the Church”), and, therefore, with canon law," Blatty wrote in the letter. "And, it seems as if every month GU gives another scandal to the faithful! The most recent is Georgetown’s obtuse invitation to Secretary Sebelius to be a commencement speaker. Each of these scandals is proof of Georgetown’s non-compliance with Ex corde Ecclesiae and canon law. They are each inconsistent with a Catholic identity, and we all know it. A university in solidarity with the Church would not do these prideful things that do so much harm to our communion."

Blatty cited the website,, as the starting point for his complaint, where it calls for him to named "procurator" on behalf of those who agree with the petition to go before the Vatican. On the site, those joining the complaint are asked to fill in a form and agree to the following:

"Therefore, I do hereby designate and appoint WILLIAM PETER BLATTY as my lawful procurator to act for me, if necessary, in the protection of my rights in accord with the norms of canons 1481-1490 and 1738, to seek alternative forms of relief that may include a declaration by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority that Georgetown University is no longer entitled to call itself a Catholic or Jesuit university, or to order a Visitation, or to seek other remedies, and do expressly grant him a Mandate to appoint additional and substitute procurators, to submit a petition, to renounce an action, instance or judicial act, to make a settlement or strike a bargain, and to enter into arbitration in accord with canon 1435."

Georgetown University has cited academic freedom in defending the selection of Sebelius as a commencement speaker. As for the Blatty complaint, university spokesperson Stacy Kerr repeated Georgetown president John DeGioia's response: “We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas.”

Comments are temporarily disabled.
Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:48:05 -0400

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest Georgetowner updates.