When blasphemy reared its ugly head on the University of Akron, faithful Catholics could not remain silent. On February 2-4, American TFP and its America Needs Fatima campaign organized protests and acts of reparation against three performances of the blasphemous play Corpus Christi. The play presents Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles as homosexuals, and highlights a love affair between Our Lord and Judas.
Supporters from the Cleveland-Akron area joined others in prayerful protest in front of the university’s Kolbe Hall in a spontaneous reaction and expression of just outrage against such a heinous sin. They stressed that this was to be a totally legal and peaceful protest with absolutely no place for violence or confrontation.
With only 24 hours notice to prepare, TFP and America Needs Fatima supporters made phone calls to friends in the area inviting them to protest and make signs. One large sign read: “University of Akron shows blasphemous play Corpus Christi.”
A dozen protesters came to the first protest held in 10-degree weather and a fiercely blowing wind. It was First Friday and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mother. Despite the cold, protesters were in high spirits praying the Rosary and offering up the cold in reparation for the horrible blasphemy inside the theater. Among the protesters was a 77-year-old gentleman who stood in the inclement weather to prove his love for Jesus Christ.
A flash email campaign was also part of the effort to oppose Corpus Christi. TFP and America Needs Fatima supporters across America were urged to send protest messages to the President, Board of Trustees, and Alumni Association. This email alert was sent to thousands of active Catholics who in turn sent it to their friends and relatives nationwide. Even Catholics from overseas joined the protest. Based on confirmation notices sent to the TFP website, university authorities probably received hundreds if not thousands of email protests.The February 3 protest brought together 20 people, among them several young mothers who braved the low temperatures to stand up and defend the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mr. J.T. Buck, the play’s director, came out from the theater to defend the performance. When asked if he had seen the play, he replied: “I’m the director. The play is not the true story of Jesus. But what if Jesus came to the world now and did those things?” The lady answered: “He did not do those things! You have the obligation to tell the truth! The only reason you’re getting away with this is because it’s anti-Christian.”
Mr. Buck could only reply: “We need to dialogue. We need to understand each other.” The protest evidently took them by surprise especially since they never expected protesters to brave freezing weather at night for three days in a row.
Even Channel 8 Fox TV covered that night’s act of reparation, interviewing several people standing outside the theater. Their coverage was fair. Reporters said that protesters stated Corpus Christi was blasphemous and Akron University was to be blamed for promoting it. One of the ladies interviewed highlighted the double standard concerning Corpus Christi. She pointed out that if a play were produced about Martin Luther King, there was no chance that it would be performed due to the great outcry that it would cause.
On the final night, the weather was better and about 25 people protested. The Rosary was again recited. There were many debates between protesters and playgoers. Fortunately, protesters made a strong stand, peacefully yet loudly voicing their outrage with cries of “abomination,” and “blasphemy” as people entered the theater.
As one man entered Kolbe Hall, a demonstrator said blasphemy was a sin that is very offensive to God. The play watcher answered that because of the separation of Church and State, he was free to disagree. In response, the protester said there was no separation between man and God, man being accountable to God for his actions.
The protest had a very strong effect as was evident by the ticket holders’ use of the back entrance to Kolbe Hall to avoid facing the demonstrators and their own consciences. Because of the controversy, it appears very few people actually went to see the play. This shows the weakness of evil and consequently the duty of every Catholic to face it with determination and fortitude when such outrages against God are promoted.
Paraphrasing Edmund Burke, one might say that all blasphemy needs to triumph is for Catholics to be silent. Silence only encourages the promoters of blasphemy to promote ever more bold attacks on the sacred Persons of Jesus and Mary. When the good is weak, evil advances. When the good are strong, evil retreats.