Thankfully performances of The Vagina Monologues
on Catholic college campuses declined to 16 confirmed performances, half of the 32 performances reported in 2003! For seven years, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), its more than 20,000 members and a growing number of bishops, college presidents, alumni, and other Catholic leaders have urged Catholic colleges to not approve performances of the Monologues
on their campuses.
Patrick J. Reilly, President and Founder of CNS, commented on the success of the campaign: “It is wonderful news for all of those concerned about Catholic higher education that more and more Catholic colleges are refusing to host the morally offensive Monologues.”
In December and January, CNS obtained the list of campuses hosting the Monologues from the official sponsor’s website, vday.org. Letters were sent to the presidents of every Catholic college and university listed, alerting them to the Vday site and asking for confirmation that the play would or would not be allowed on their campuses. On February 6th, CNS released a list of 20 Catholic campuses that were expected to host the play, based on the Vday site listings and information from presidents who responded to the CNS letters.
CNS applauds those Catholic colleges and universities that have refused to host the Monologues. These include St. LouisUniversity, which refused to host the play for a second consecutive year. Although St. Louis University was identified on the Vday site, we learned from an e-mail contact the day after our release that the university was not hosting the play and immediately updated the list. We regret that St. Louis was included in the original CNS list of 20 colleges. And although Vday continues to promote a campus performance at Le Moyne College on March 28, staff at the college indicated to CNS that the Monologues would not be held this year.
CNS has confirmed that 16 of the 19 Catholic campuses hosted or will host productions in February and March. (CNS has been unable to confirm performances announced by Vday at Loyola Marymount University in California and Regis College inMassachusetts.)
The confirmed list of 16 includes Bellarmine University, College of the Holy Cross, College of Mount Saint Vincent, College of Saint Rose, DePaul University, Dominican University of California, Fordham University, Georgetown University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Marygrove College, Saint Mary’s College of California, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Notre Dame, and University of San Francisco.
Despite this growing momentum against performances of the Monologues, in a statement on March 10th, Rev. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, officially approved the return of the play to the Notre Dame campus after a one-year hiatus. The statement was released soon after a committee of U.S. bishops moved an important seminar from Notre Dame because of the planned performances. On March 13th Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bendreleased a strong statement in response to Father Jenkins’ position on the Monologues that forcefully explained why it was inappropriate for Notre Dame to host the play.
“Although the return of the play to Notre Dame was disappointing, the downward trend of campuses hosting the Monologuesis one more sign of the ongoing renewal in Catholic higher education. While much work remains to be done, there is reason to be hopeful,” said Reilly.
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.