William Peter Blatty is the author of The Exorcist, a novel about demonic possession. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie version, which is considered one of the scariest films of all time. It turns out the former Hollywood comedy writer penned the novel as an expression of faith.
After the jump I link to an interview with him that is worth reading in its entirety. I excerpt the final words in the interview, in which Mr. Blatty cites something far more demonic than what he portrayed in The Exorcist.
Look at all those polls, Blatty says. Nine out of 10 Americans believe in God, says one. More Americans believe in the Devil than evolution, says another. And it’s the fear that something can possess you — not the Devil, but something like rage or jealousy or despair — that haunts everyone regardless of their belief system.
Blatty has a gravity about him, and also, somehow, a lightness. An impishness. This is a man who is quick to laugh to the point of tears and also thinks that these may be “the last days.” This is a man who says, after a sip of coffee with Equal sweetener, “It’s a fallen world,” like he’s noting the weather.
Mere steps away from lunch is evidence of the fallen, in his eyes: his beloved alma mater, which he believes has drifted perilously into secularism. This month, Blatty submitted to the Vatican a petition with thousands of signatures and a 120-page institutional audit that calls for the removal of Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit designations if it does not comply with every little rule in “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” John Paul II’s constitution for affiliated colleges. The university, for its part, says the “Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger.”
Bill, what are you doing? people have asked him.
Bill, times change. Let it go.
Bill, why are you punishing the school you love, the school whose scholarship money rescued you from a childhood of restless poverty in New York, the school that made possible your life, that cemented your faith?
“If you truly love someone that you think needs to be in rehab, you’ll do everything you possibly can to get them into rehab,” Blatty says. The last straw, he says, was Georgetown’s invitation of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be a commencement speaker in May of last year. Sebelius has a record of supporting abortion rights, and abortion is the issue that really sets Blatty’s nerves on fire.
He describes, his voice trembling, a particular abortion procedure in graphic detail.
He pauses. His voice is nearly a whisper.