A couple Fridays ago we were sent a thirty-page, 13,000-word excerpt of Exorcist author William Peter Blatty’s petition to Rome asking for a decision from the Vatican on whether or not Georgetown is in compliance with Ex corde Ecclesiae, the papal encyclical which authoritatively lays out the requirements for a university to be considered Catholic.
The petition was co-signed by over 2,000 other individuals affiliated with Georgetown and The Father King Society, and was first given to the local Archbishop of Washington, who after a review, referred the matter to Rome for further study and action.
In April of 2014 the Vatican formally responded to Mr. Blatty’s petition. 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.”
The excerpt, which we'll begin serializing tomorrow, is the first time any portion of the petition has been published, anywhere. It was given to us as a result of a Hoya column written by Matthew Quallen, who attempted to make the case that The Georgetown Academy was responsible for fomenting “climate of angst and anger [that] would see a rash of hate crimes on Georgetown’s campus."*
We responded to Mr. Quallen in a two-part series (here and here) looking at the history of hate crimes at Georgetown. Suffice it to say, the argument lacked any basis in fact. The Hoya ended up adding a clarification to their original piece, though we are still awaiting the correction and apology we requested, and which both fairness and integrity demand.
We’ve broken the excerpt into eight parts which will be published between now and the Friday after Thanksgiving. Though it looks at student-led efforts to keep Georgetown authentically Catholic, what is remarkable is how many of them were connected to The Georgetown Academy, either due to its members being involved, or because other students were inspired or encouraged as a result of TGA’s reporting and advocacy.
Next semester we'll be working on formatting the excerpt along with Ex corde Ecclesiae and other important documents related to Catholic higher education into an e-book.
*We previously received an 1,500-word excerpt of the petition that we planned on publishing this month, but which only dealt with another student's response to an article Father Kevin O'Brien published in TGA back in 2012. The excerpt we received after Quallen's column was published includes the commentary on Father O'Brien's piece.
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