On May 16, twelve members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property left their home in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. Their destination: the Kresge Little Theater at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their purpose: hold a 2-1/2 hour rally, in protest against the play, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
The play, which protesters dubbed The Most Blasphemous Story Ever Told, mocks the Catholic Faith by portraying Our Lady as a lesbian and mocking the Bible’s creation story, representing our first parents as a homosexual “couple” named Adam and Steve.
Before arriving in Boston, local TFP activists, coordinated by TFP veteran member Edward Ritchie had already laid the groundwork by handing out invitations for the protest in local churches.
Protesters convened at 6:15 p.m. on Massachusetts Avenue in front of the theater. As the podium was set up and the TFP’s vintage 18-foot red medieval standards were raised, the demonstrators noted an undeniable air of confrontation.
This air could be expected to precede such a protest at MIT, whose reputation as a bastion of liberalism has been often confirmed. “I cannot believe there is an organization like this protesting at MIT!” said a former MIT employee. “At MIT?” responded local TFP friend Pat Hobby. “I cannot believe an organization like this exists on this planet! I never met a TFP man I didn’t like.”
Throughout the peaceful TFP event, a small, but persistent, counter-protest formed. Their ranks swelled, at times, to ten members, who shouted horrible insults through a bullhorn. During the rosary, they even went to the point of making a profane parody of the rosary prayers.
One particularly hostile male counter-protester wore only lipstick and a racy spandex mini-dress. He continually paced back and forth through the crowd, at times stopping at the podium to distract the speaker.
However, his provocative attitude bore no fruit. The over-300 peaceful Catholic protesters remained undaunted and continued their program. “I was a little concerned when I saw the counter protest forming,” remarked a protester. “But, when I saw the TFP members in control of the situation, we all felt reassured.”
After praying the first five decades of the rosary, TFP member Michael Whitcraft gave a short speech, reminding the audience of Pope Leo XIII’s quote, “Nothing emboldens the the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.” He then explained how Catholic’s lack of courage is to blame for much of the evil in today’s society.
He continued: “The splendid turnout I see before me today shows that Catholics are finally catching on, but we need to continue to catch on. We must embolden ourselves and persistently stand up against the enemies of Holy Mother Church.”
Fatima Custodian Kevin Ritchie spoke to the crowd and made the link between the present blasphemies and the prophesies of Our Lady of Fatima. He then had cited the Church Fathers to show that the role of a Catholic is never to stand by with crossed arms while the Church is under attack.
After finishing the rosary, protesters recited the litany of Loretto, which invokes the Blessed Virgin under the many titles with which the Church has honored her throughout the centuries.
A fiery Portuguese lady, who had come all the way from Rhode Island with a busload of protesters, also gave a short speech with tremendous enthusiasm. She finished with the recitation of the Hail Mary in her native Portuguese.
When darkness began to fall, organizers handed out candles. After lighting them, protesters knelt to make the Consecration to Jesus Christ Through the Hands of Mary Most Holy, as outlined by St. Louis de Montfort.
It was particularly moving to note the contrast between the insolence of the play being shown a few yards away and the fidelity of the protesters who offered the Blessed Virgin, “their bodies and souls, their goods both interior and exterior and even the value of all their good actions past, present and future.”
Only the faint light of the candles broke the darkness. This light threw the shadows of kneeling faithful on the darkened sidewalk and gave one the impression that one had stepped into a time machine and traveled to the ancient catacombs. However, despite persecution and confrontation these modern-day “catacomb-ians” were not afraid to publicly give witness to their Faith.
The spectacle even silenced the counter-protesters, whose bravery seemed to fizzle in face of the courage of the good.
As Pope Leo XIII said, wicked men are emboldened when good men say nothing, but the experience in Boston proved the contrary. Wicked men are abashed by the audacity of the good. Thus, Catholics must stand tall and persistently defend the Faith in face of adversity.
In imitation of Our Savior, Who never wavered when confronting the Pharisees and Who expelled the merchants from the temple, Catholics today must never embolden the wicked with a lack of courage.
Finally Catholics must imitate the Virgin Mary, whom Solomon foresaw as being “terrible as an army set in array” (Cant. 6:9). They must ask her for strength against the enemies of Holy Mother Church and push on until the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.