Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More on William Peter Blatty's Lawsuit Against Georgetown

Joseph Fromm, over at "Good Jesuit Bad Jesuit" is closely following Mr. Blatty's canon lawsuit against Georgetown University. Blatty's high profile gives him considerable leverage. Let's hope the Archdiocese of Washington DC finally realizes the need for action. From Mr. Fromm's latest post on the subject:

"William Peter Blatty and other concerned alumni have created an online petition - on which he asks donors to curb their contributions to Georgetown for one year. It also states that the rights of Catholics to a Christian education have been violated by Georgetown's "21-year refusal to comply fully with the law of the Church." Because of this, he is initiating the canon lawsuit against Georgetown. Among the remedies the petition seeks is that there be a "declaration by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority that Georgetown University is no longer entitled to call itself a Catholic or Jesuit University."

There is precedent for this, said Father Michael Orsi, the Chaplain and Research Fellow in Law & Religion at the Ave Maria School of Law, a Catholic law school in Naples, Fla. "Catholic theologians are given a mandatum by the bishops of the dioceses that they are qualified to teach Catholic theology," he said. The rulebook for this is theEx corde Ecclesiae, an order issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990. It defined what Catholicism means for Catholic universities. All educational facilities must have the endorsement of the local bishop. "The other side of it is the bishop can remove a Catholic theologian," Orsi said. He mentioned two instances where this was done. One was the case of Father Charles Curran, a theologian at the Catholic University of America. He taught about subjects that were considered antipodal to Catholic teachings. He was determined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to be ineligible to be a professor of Catholic theology and was fired from his teaching position in 1986. The Congregation was run by then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The other cited by Orsi was more recent. St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was stripped of its"Catholic" appellation in December 2010. Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted issued a decree dissolving the hospital's affiliation with the Catholic Church. He wrote in his decree that he could not confirm the hospital was providing its services in line with Catholic precepts. "It is not done enough," Orsi said.
If Blatty's lawsuit moves forward, a brief will be presented to the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. He must make the determination that Georgetown no longer conducts itself as a Catholic university should...."

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