A show that can be qualified as sacrilegious was staged in the presence of Pope Francis on January 27, during the Panama World Youth Day (WYD).1 The actors ridicule the mystery of the Annunciation and treat Our Lady with utmost irreverence. At the end of the musical though, the Pope applauded and gave a thumbs-up approval.2
The Most Holy Virgin is presented as “a normal girl, a girl of today,” as Pope Francis recently put it.3 Accordingly, the girl playing Our Lady wears sneakers, tight woman’s pants, and a loose light-blue top. Her head is uncovered and her cell phone is on display.
For his part, the “angel Gabriel” is played by a young man wearing white pants, a shirt and a white hat, sporting a pair of small wings on his back.
In a parody of the Annunciation, the “angel” tells “Mary” that she will become a mother by the work of the Holy Spirit. She is nervous, almost hysterical, and says that she is not yet married to Joseph, is not ready, has to go to college, is afraid, etc.
The “angel” tries to convince her and says she should rejoice. Ever more nervous, she answers that she is unable to rejoice: “What will Joseph say? What is mother going to think when she finds out?” “And the neighbors?”
The girl then begins to sing, in rap style, that she is afraid, feels unprepared, and so on. The “angel” takes her by the hands, saying that she is the chosen one and both begin to dance. Other barefoot “angel” ballerinas enter swirling around, with fluttering, and revealing robes. Then “Gabriel” puts on some carnival-style glasses. The other “angel” dancers do the same and dance around, singing lyrics that resemble words from Scripture. “Mary” insists that she is afraid but then begins to sing the Gospel words, always in pop rhythm: “Let your will be done.”
Then, amid laughter, she picks up the cell phone and takes a selfie with “Gabriel.”
Two other girls go up on the stage and begin to say that the rest of the story is well known: That Jesus came and gave us His teachings and so on. Then a soccer team comes on stage representing the twelve Apostles, and begins to proclaim and sing that they are afraid to evangelize because they will be persecuted. A group of “policemen” appears and the “Apostles” flee. The “cops” begin to sing and dance madly and then they leave. The “Apostles” return to the stage and begin to sing and dance in choreography, always repeating: “I’m afraid.”
After some time dancing and singing, “Mary” comes to them, holds their hands, touches them and says she has already talked with “Gabriel” and that everything will work out.
Then a loud voice is heard through loudspeakers, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit, do not be afraid, rejoice and go evangelize.” Everyone kneels, then rises and begins to sing along with the “angel” dancers and the “angel” Gabriel. A crazy dance then begins with singing, in which “Mary” participates.
As the sacrilegious parody of the Annunciation and Pentecost ends, the Pope makes a thumbs-up sign of enthusiastic approval. He then gets up and effusively greets the two main actors.
The Pope’s presence at a sacrilegious play about the Mother of God and, by extension, about the Word Incarnate, is extremely serious, all the more so since in the end he gave it his decisive support.
A sacrilegious parody of the Annunciation and Pentecost at the 2019 World Youth Day
A Theatrical Staging of Francis’s Doctrine
This staging at Panama’s WYD seems to illustrate Francis’s doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Indeed, Pope Francis has made statements about Mary Most Holy that contradict everything we venerate and find in the Gospels, Tradition and Church Magisterium, and in the sense of the faithful. He recently pointed out that Mary was “not born a saint,” thus implicitly denying the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.4
Francis summarizes his doctrine on Our Lady in his book-interview, from which the Italian daily Corriere della Sera published some excerpts. He says that the Blessed Virgin Mary was:
“[A] normal girl, a girl of today … normal, normally educated, open to marrying, to having a family. … Then, after conceiving Jesus, [she was] still a normal woman. … Nothing was exceptional in her life, [she was] a normal mother: Even in her virginal marriage, chaste in that framework of virginity, Mary was normal. She worked, went shopping, helped her Son, and helped her husband. Normal.”5
The fact that Francis deals with the most delicate and complex subjects in a simplistic and confused way does not eliminate but rather increases the damage that his statements, like those referring to Our Lady, inflict upon souls.
His confused, improvised, and contradictory way of speaking is incompatible with the true, clear, and logical teaching of the Church and with the mission of the Pope to confirm his brothers in the faith.6
“The Supreme Royal Dignity of the Mother of God”
Nothing is dearer to a Catholic heart than the honor of the Mother of God, the beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father, the admirable Mother of God the Son, and most faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
As we express our indignation at the offense made to our Blessed Mother in this theatrical parody of the Annunciation and Pentecost staged before the Supreme Pontiff and which received his support, we suggest everyone to make acts of reparation for this event.
And we close these brief considerations by quoting an excerpt from the encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, of October 11, 1954, in which Pius XII establishes the feast of the Queenship of Mary:
“From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. … And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.”7
- “Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. In a less proper sense any transgression against the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege.” J. Delany, s.v. “Sacrilege,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912), http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13321a.htm.
- Vatican web site beginning at 26:42 minutes, http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/events/event.dir.html/content/vaticanevents/it/2019/1/27/volontari-gmg.html; or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqMAmHuufLI.
- Papa Francesco: “La Chiesa è popolo, l’élite il peccato,” Corriere della Sera, Oct. 7, 2018, https://www.corriere.it/cronache/18_ottobre_07/papa-francesco-chiesa-popolo-elite-peccato-2ab8a8ce-ca64-11e8-8417-701d201b7018.shtml.
- On December 21, 2018, the Pope stated to Vatican employees: “Our Lady and Saint Joseph! Yes, but let us not think it was easy for them: saints are not born, they become thus, and this is true for them too.” http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2018/december/documents/papa-francesco_20181221_dipendenti-vaticani.html.
- Papa Francesco: “La Chiesa è popolo, l’élite il peccato,” Corriere della Sera, Oct. 7, 2018, https://www.corriere.it/cronache/18_ottobre_07/papa-francesco-chiesa-popolo-elite-peccato-2ab8a8ce-ca64-11e8-8417-701d201b7018.shtml. See also, Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Pope Francis’s ‘Sin of the Elite’ and New, Egalitarian Mariology,” Oct. 29, 2018, https://www.tfp.org/pope-franciss-sin-of-the-elite-and-new-egalitarian-mariology/.
- “Confirm thy brethren.” (Lk. 22:32)
- Pius XII, Encyclical Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, no. 8, http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_11101954_ad-caeli-reginam.html.