In recent interviews with both The Hoya and The Voice, President DeGioia discussed the Pope’s decision to not visit Georgetown, which is of course America’s oldest Catholic university. He claimed it was a simply a matter of the logistics being too complicated.
But perhaps something else might have been at work.
There have, after all, been numerous and well-known scandals over the years that may have dissuaded a papal visit, the most famous being in 1991 when DeGioia, who at the time was Dean of Students, gave official University recognition and funding to the pro-abortion advocacy group GU Choice. This resulted in DeGioia’s predecessor, President Leo O’Donovan, being called to Rome and forced to overturn the decision. GU Choice has since been rebranded as H*yas for Choice. Interestingly enough, and as we reported earlier this semester, H*yas for Choice has started receiving University funding once again and is permitted to keep their pro-abortion materials and the condoms they pass out housed on University property in a University-funded storage space.
Here's a link to H4C's advertisements for abortion providers in the District. And here's another where club president Abby Grace discusses how the amount of money they've received from Georgetown constitutes “a large portion of our operating costs,” and how glad she is now that her organization can store their things in what is whimsically being referred to as "The Condom Storage Cage."
More recently there has been the invitation of former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a graduation speaker at the same time she was trying to force Catholic institutions like Georgetown to violate their own religious faith by paying for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients in their insurance plans. Georgetown's administration remained silent over the issue except to defend Secretary Sebelius's appearance, and we know of only one Jesuit brave enough to speak out against it.
But most well-known in these last few years has been the canon law petition initiated by Exorcist author and Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty, which detailed Georgetown’s continued non-compliance with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution* which authoritatively lays out the requirements for a university to be considered authentically Catholic.
The petition, which has over 2000 co-signers within the Georgetown community, was first sent to Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wuerl, who after a review forwarded it to Rome where it received further study.
The response to the petition was positive and its allegations confirmed by the Vatican.
Archbishop Angelo Zani, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, wrote to Blatty that: “Your communications to this Dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University . . . constitutes a well-founded complaint.” Zani added: “Our Congregation is taking the issue seriously, and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.”
Our understanding is internal discussions are now occurring between the Catholic hierarchy and Georgetown over bringing the University into compliance with Ex Corde.
The specific issues requiring correction, according to the Blatty Petition, are detailed here.
So what does all this have to do with the Pope not visiting the Hilltop? Why do we bring it up? Because as noted in this Washington Post article . . .
For one university in the nation’s capital, the upcoming visit of Pope Francis provides special bragging rights: It will be the third papal stop at the Catholic University of America in less than 40 years.
Pope John Paul II came in 1979, and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, came in 2008.
This caused us to do a little research to answer the question if a pope ever visited Georgetown? The answer is no.
Here’s some more information from the piece . . .
During his address [at Catholic University], Pope John Paul II told the audience, “I cannot help but feel at home with you.” He called CUA a “great institution” and affirmed the responsibility of a Catholic university to set up “a real community which bears witness to a living and operative Christianity, a community where sincere commitment to scientific research and study goes together with a deep commitment to authentic Christian living.
. . .
When Pope Benedict XVI came to Catholic University in 2008, the University community had more time to prepare and, as a result, students played a larger role. In August 2007, Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., then President of the University, learned the Pope would deliver an important address on Catholic education in April 2008.
In the months prior to Pope Benedict’s visit, nearly 400 CUA volunteers were recruited to execute the numerous tasks necessary for the Holy Father’s visit. Architecture students were commissioned to design the altar, papal chair, pulpit, and lectern to be used during the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at Nationals Park. A choir of 17 music students were selected from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music to perform the eighth-century chant “Laudes Regiae: Christus Vincit,” as the Pope entered the University center’s Great Room.
On April 16, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica to meet with U.S. bishops and preside over Solemn Vespers in the Crypt Church. While there, he greeted a crowd of thousands students and alumni who had gathered on the University Mall.
The next day, the Pope returned to campus and delivered his address on education at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center before a packed audience of more than 400 Catholic educators. While the Pope spoke, more than 1,000 students gathered on the lawn of CUA’s Columbus School of Law to watch the address live on a JumboTron.
During his address, Pope Benedict XVI greeted his audience as “bearers of wisdom” and spoke of education’s integral place in the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News. Stressing the high expectations society places on Catholic educators, he told the audience that such expectation “places upon you a responsibility and offers an opportunity.”
The Pope spoke of “the difficulty or reluctance many people have today in entrusting themselves to God,” especially the younger generation. Thus, he told the audience, “A particular responsibility for each of you, and your colleagues, is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith.”
When Pope Francis visited last month, his trip was historic, not only because of it being his first papal visit to the United States, but also due to the canonization of Junípero Serra.
As noted in a CUA press release . . .
The Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the East Portico of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Sept. 23, 2015, was historic for many reasons. It was the first public Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the United States, the first time in this country that the congregation for a papal Mass has gathered on a university campus, and the first canonization to take place in the United States.
Seems like popes are making a habit of avoiding Georgetown.
Perhaps it's because too many of Georgetown's Jesuits and administrators are afraid of defending or promoting the Catholic doctrine when it concerns something that is not politically correct or isn't part of some left-wing social justice movement.
Perhaps it's because too many of Georgetown's Jesuits and administrators just talk about "men and women for others" and "cura personalis" without ever mentioning the inspiration behind such statements, which we once again reminded them of last week.
Perhaps it's because too many of Georgetown's Jesuits and administrators attend silly protests over fake issues of racism and other left-wing events, but are afraid to attend one in defense of the sanctity of life, and even allow a pro-abortion club to receive University funds and support.
Perhaps it's because too many of Georgetown's Jesuits and administrators invite speakers to campus who would eliminate the University's freedom of religion and force it to violate doctrine, and then when controversy erupts, make excuses for it and defend the decision.
Does Catholic University have any of these problems with their priests and administrators?
We're guessing not. Which is perhaps why the popes like to visit.
*An apostolic constitution is the highest level of decree issued by a Pope.