When the University of Nebraska’s Studio Theatre advertised its plans to stage the blasphemous anti-Catholic play “Corpus Christi,” the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) and its TFP Student Action and America Need Fatima campaign immediately launched a prayerful protest. “Corpus Christi” portrays Our Lord and His twelve Apostles as homosexuals.
Just as Our Divine Savior was abandoned, insulted and mocked during His Passion, so is He offended by the sins of men today. Yet as we recall the tragic abandonment of Our Lord, we also behold the heroic example of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross, who accompanied every step of her Divine Son’s suffering with unfathomable courage, while the Apostles fled in fear. As Catholics today, we must not flee.
On December 1-3, faithful Catholics gathered in Lincoln, Nebr., to make a public act of reparation for this offense against God. Coming from as far as Kansas and Pennsylvania, they stood on the ice-coated sidewalk in front of the Temple Building, where the blasphemous play was held, praying the Rosary aloud and singing hymns in honor of the Blessed Mother. They were determined to follow the example of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross.
Joy in the face of suffering
That Saturday, December 3, the Midwest was blanketed with several inches of snow, followed by gusts of frigid arctic air. Faces were numbed. Hands and feet were colder than most could remember. Yet not one person complained of the discomfort. It was accepted with joy, a way to offer more sacrifices in reparation for the sin of blasphemy taking place inside the university theater. A gentleman from Lincoln, who joined the protest all three days, remarked: “It’s colder today than it was yesterday, but that’s good because now we have one more thing to offer up.”
People of all ages attended – college students, young families, and elderly couples.
A college student from Topeka, Kan., was delighted to participate. “This is the happiest day of my life. I’d like to do this every week,” he said.
Jonathan, a University of Nebraska freshman, said: “I joined the rally because I think that it is very important to stand up for our Faith and for the name of Jesus Christ…One’s Faith is meaningless without actions. God gives us all the grace we need and we just need to act on it. Thanks again for hosting the protest, it helped make my Faith in Christ and in the Church stronger.”
Kevin, another UNL student added: “being anti-Christian seems acceptable for some reason, especially on college campuses. They want to rid the world of the virtues and truths that the Church espouses and return civilization to something where restraint and religion mean nothing.”
Prayers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus were recited. The Rosary resounded loudly and could be heard echoing from blocks away, to the disappointment of a few counter-demonstrators present. The rally culminated with the Litany of the Sacred Heart and act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort, which most people prayed on their knees in the cold snow.
Several families traveled from Kansas to defend the honor of Our Lord and ten members of TFP Student Action made the twenty-hour voyage to Lincoln from Pennsylvania for the rally.
How Theatre Goers Reacted
People entering the theater seemed somewhat cynical, unwilling to consider the gravity of the sin of blasphemy being committed. One college-age man hid behind the two stone pillars in front of the theater nervously chain-smoking cigarettes.
A few counter-demonstrators showed up on the third day of protest. They held hastily made signs in a weak attempt at mockery, saying things like “I don’t know what I’m doing here,” and “My parents didn’t love me, that’s why I’m here to get attention.” Some spit on the sidewalk, shouted obscene slogans at the demonstrators, taking particular delight in yelling filth at the children in the demonstration.
However, even though they obnoxiously mingled with the Catholics, their dress and vulgar behavior betrayed them. One had a Mohawk hairstyle, and another, body piercings. Using foul language and dirty jokes, they repeatedly mocked and ridiculed the prayers said by the demonstrators.
Police officers nearby were asked to separate the pro-homosexual activists from the prayer vigil, which they did not do, and the activists continued to carry on as they pleased.
But what they hated most were the praises to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Litany of the Sacred Heart. It seems the Litany scared them away, and halfway through, they gave up and left the scene, unwilling to hear the praises that ran so contrary to the unutterable blasphemy that was taking place inside.
Standing at the Foot of the Cross
America Needs Fatima director, Robert Ritchie, also read a message by His Excellency Fabian Bruskewitz of the Lincoln diocese. The statement said:
The Bishop of Lincoln thinks that the play “Corpus Christi” is a vile anti-Christian production which is, in Catholic moral terms, a heinous blasphemy against Jesus Christ. He feels that if there were an anti-Semitic or anti-African American production scheduled for the UNL campus, such plays would not be tolerated by the University. It seems, however, that anti-Christian plays do not contradict the spirit of the tax-supported university.
There is a moving psalm by the Prophet Jeremiah which alludes to the suffering and painful abandonment Our Lord would endure during His Passion: “All ye that pass by, behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow?” (Lam 1:13)
The widespread indifference in the face of such offenses as “Corpus Christi”certainly causes Our Lord much suffering. How many during His Passion, likewise looked the other way, not wanting to be bothered? We must watch and pray, and yes, even protest when necessary, lest our love for God become sterile. It is our duty to stop and see the sorrow of Our Lord. It is our duty to stop and see the sorrow of His Blessed Mother caused by so much ingratitude and sin. It is our duty to stand by the Cross.