Catholics turned out and protested Terrence McNally’s blasphemous play, Corpus Christi, on Friday night, March 5, in Madison, Wisconsin at the Bartell Theatre. The play presents Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles as homosexuals, and highlights a love affair between Our Lord and Judas.
Protesters came from as far away as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, as well as from the Madison area. The protest was organized by the TFP’s America Needs Fatima campaign and was the culmination of six months of protests by email, post cards, faxes and phone calls to the Mayor of Madison, Dave Cieslewicz and the Bartell Theatre. Over one and a half million protest post cards were distributed nationwide. Mr. Cieslewicz did nothing to stop the production of the play, and attended it, setting a bad example.
Tradition, Family and Property’s twenty foot tall red standard with a golden rampant lion blew in the evening chill, while TFP Chicago Bureau Director Preston Noell led the peaceful and legal gathering with a powerful bullhorn that could be heard for blocks with chants of “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men! I will also confess him before my Father in Heaven!” and “Blasphemy! Blasphemy! A sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance!” “Catholics of America, will you remain silent as God and the Virgin Mary are blasphemed? Never! Never!” “Shame, Shame!”
Besides the chants, the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Litany of Loreto, devotional and patriotic songs, short speeches were given under the watchful and prayerful gaze of a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima, set atop a six foot tall pedestal.
Father George Fox of St. Joseph’s Parish in Madison led the 80 or so protesters in the immediate area in the recitation of the Rosary. Other groups of protesters were scattered along the narrow street bringing the total number present to nearly 200. Student Knights of Columbus from the nearby University of Wisconsin came out in strength.
His Excellency Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, issued a statement which was read at the rally: “In misrepresenting and defaming the truly holy life which Jesus Christ lived on earth, the play Corpus Christi (this title also connotes contempt for the Eucharistic presence of Christ) embodies a frontal assault on the basics of what Catholics believe. This kind of public assault, repeated as often as the play is performed, seems quite out of place in a culture so promotive of mutual respect and tolerance.” The Catholic Herald newspaper of the Diocese of Madison published an article announcing the prayer vigil.
News coverage of the event was intense. NBC, CBS and ABC television crews covered the event, and local print media were out in force too. It was the main news story on local evening news. Numerous articles were written about the protest, which was also counter-protested by a group of about twenty.
The Madison Police department had a detail on hand to keep the sidewalks clear and maintain order. At one point, a pro-homosexual heckler approached the group that was praying and tried to start an argument, shouting and taunting them. A moment later, with microphone in hand and bullhorn blasting, Mr. Noell started the chant “Blasphemy! Blasphemy! A sin that cries out to heaven and God for vengeance” over and over. Catholic psychological firepower and prayerful resistance to the affront won out. After a minute or so, the counter-demonstrators backed off, and did not repeat their attempt to disrupt the vigil.
There is no doubt in the minds of everyone praying and protesting that the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ had been truly defended while the other side was thoroughly overwhelmed.