The Department of Theater, Arts and Dance of the University of Minnesota is planning to stage a blasphemous play called The Pope and the Witch starting on March 1, 2007.
According to The New York Times: “The witch, in nun’s habit, turns up as an aide to the doctor summoned to treat the pope, and before long the Holy Father is seized with a paralytic affliction that, among other names, is known as ‘a crucifixion stroke,’ leaving him with his arms outstretched.”1
The pope figure is also portrayed as a greedy heroin addict, while the Church is accused as being responsible for world poverty and hunger because of Her doctrines against abortion and contraception.2
In a review, The Yale Herald stated: “The blasphemy aspect of the production adds another layer of prickly humor…”3
Anti-Catholic Communist Authorship
The Pope and the Witch’s author, Italian playwright and longtime Communist Party member, Dario Fo, is as anti-Catholic as his play.
He has been criticized, arrested, censored and denied entry into the United States. Furthermore, the Vatican called his 1977 broadcast of Mistero Buffo “the most blasphemous show in the history of television.”4
Academic Freedom Run Amok
Catholicism is coming under attack with increasing frequency. The trend is alarming. While The Da Vinci Code was blasphemy disguised as “fiction,” The Pope and the Witch is sacrilegious Catholic-bashing hiding under the hazy catch-phrase of “academic freedom.”
However, these arguments do not hold water. The University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a policy in 1995 that seeks to establish a climate free from “prejudice” and “intolerance,” and acknowledges “religious” values. Consistency demands that they stop targeting the Catholic Faith. That is why the Catholic bishops of Minnesota have just written a joint letter asking the university’s president to cancel the production.5
Join the Peaceful Protest
With this in mind, the American TFP web site is asking its subscribers to voice their rejection of the blasphemous play. Please sign an instant e-mail protest to the University of Minnesota president Robert Bruininks, demanding the cancellation of The Pope and the Witch.
Also, to be more effective give the president’s office a call after you send in your protest email. Be polite and firm. Tell him how you feel and ask him to respect the Pope and the Holy Catholic Faith. Call the president’s office at 612-626-1616.
Please also send this protest alert to your friends and acquaintances. Remember TFP Student Action recently stopped a showing of The Da Vinci Code movie at Saint Francis College. After another protest, The Cavalier Daily newspaper at the University of Virginia apologized and removed two offensive cartoons from their web site.
- The Yale Herald, “Humor (and more than a little blasphemy) blesses ‘Pope’” (10-31-1996)