Vatican Acknowledges that Complaints about Georgetown University are Well Founded


The Vatican has acknowledged that complaints listed in a canonical petition it received from alumni of Georgetown University are “well founded.”

What this means in real life, I’m not sure. Hopefully, it signals the beginning of a return to Catholic education at Catholic universities.

William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist and Georgetown alum, submitted the petition, which contained 2,000 signatures, to the Vatican last September. Here is the text of the petition:

I, the undersigned, a Catholic in full communion with the Church, in keeping with the rights, duties and obligations of the Laity and the Christian faithful under the 1983 Code of Canon Law to make known our needs to our pastors through petition, to maintain communion with the Church, to perfect the order of temporal affairs, and legitimately to vindicate our rights in the Church, as well as the rights and duties we have under Article 4 of Ex corde Ecclesiae, we express our grave concern that our rights to know and follow the truth of the Catholic Church, to a Christian education, and others, have been violated by Georgetown University’s twenty-one year refusal to comply fully with the law of the Church through the implementation of the general norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae, and its eleven year non-compliance with certain particular norms adopted for the United States, which has led directly and indirectly to the tolerance and promotion of deviations from authentic doctrinal and moral teachings by Georgetown University authorities, a long series of Scandals to the faithful through actions inconsistent with a Catholic identity, and a growing threat to souls through the ever-spreading ideology of radical autonomy in Georgetown’s institutional initiatives, and to the academic freedom of professors and students in favor of new illiberal and intolerant orthodoxies.  I, therefore, petition in the protection of my rights and in fulfillment of my duties in accord with Canon Law, for such relief to obtain the implementation of canon law and Ex corde Ecclesiae that has been requested by the Petition submitted by William Peter Blatty.

The Vatican replied to the petition on April 4. Here is the text of their letter to Mr Blatty from Archbishop Angelo Vicenzo Zani, the secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education.



Rome, 4 April 2014

Dear Mr. Blatty,

Further to our letters to you of 22 October 2013 and 19 December 2013, both with

the above protocol number, our Congregation has examined your petition for hierarchical

recourse in the matter of Georgetown University. We hereby notify you that:

(1) The matters to which you referred in your communications to this Dicastery

cannot be considered grounds for a hierarchical recourse, inasmuch as the

petitioner in such a recourse must be able to show that he/she has suffered an

objective change in his/her condition due to an administrative act.

(2) Your communications to this Dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University

instead constitute a well-founded complaint. Our Congregation is taking the issue

seriously, and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.

Taking the opportunity to express to you our sentiments of consideration and

esteem, we remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani

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  • SisterCynthia

    Huh. So, in effect, “you don’t have legal standing to complain,” but “your complaint is ligitimate”?? Well, here’s hoping they are actually working to get the Jesuits back on track. No high hopes, since the only way to change entrenched structures is to gut them of the rot, not just send out a sternly worded memo, and there probably aren’t enough faithful, trained folks to take the place of all the bad eggs that need to go. :-/ I HOPE I’m wrong… it would be great to see America’s Christian universities return to the call behind their founding.

    • Bill S

      William Peter Blatty seems to me to be a little too obsessed about Catholicism. People send their kids to Georgetown for a mostly secular education. There are CCD classes and seminaries they can go to for religious training.

      And you don’t have to be Catholic to go there, so it is inappropriate to impose Catholic teachings, customs, traditions, taboos, etc. on the students. For example, it is appropriate to cover contraceptives in the health plan. Or at least sign off on the accomodation as I am sure they have.

      • Elizabeth K.

        Actually, many parents and students choose Georgetown and the like because they want an education that draws on Catholic values, and then are sadly surprised that they’ve essentially been duped by the label “Catholic.” They assume, wrongly in many cases, that hostility towards religion and unthinking anti-Catholicism won’t be an entrenched part of the curriculum. Meanwhile, non-Catholics are drawn to Catholic institutions of higher learning because, in spite of the above, there seems to be something different about the place–and then they spend their time trying to dismantle that which makes it different–much the way Californians move to other places because they’re so great and then wreck the policies that made them that way. (I can say thay because I’m a Californian. And it’s true).

      • Rob B.

        “And you don’t have to be Catholic to go there, so it is inappropriate to impose Catholic teachings, customs, traditions, taboos, etc. on the students. ”

        Except that the university claims to be a Catholic institution. Like any such institution, it has rules and regulations different from those of non-Catholic institutions and those who attend there (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) can and should be expected to live in accordance with them (a lesson that Sandra Fluke failed to learn during her time there, apparently). No one, after all, forced them to apply to this university or to stay there once they realized what these rules and regulations were. Instead, like the modernists they are, people seek to force these institutions to abandon their core beliefs for the sake of “remaining relevant” or “getting with the times.” The truly sad part is how willing Georgetown and other “Catholic” institutions have been to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

        If people are going to Georgetown for a secular education, then it would be best for Georgetown to abandon its pretense of being a Catholic institution.

        • Bill S

          Catholics have made a huge contribution to education and schools like Boston College, Georgetown, Notre Dame, etc. are among the best in the country. But they no longer are sought out for religious training by most attendees and they don’t really answer to the Vatican anymore. It’s just something that orthodox Catholics must accept.

  • FW Ken

    This reminds me of a scene in a movie where a yound man goes to confession and the priest (Irish, of course) snaps at him “well thanks for telling me what everyone already knows.” Georgetown, like most schools “in the Jesuit tradition” had been a byword for religious fraud for years.

    • hamiltonr

      :-). Good one, Ken.