Diocese of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea made his views on “The Vagina Monologues” clear via a statement on Facebook. Local clergy and lay Catholics are now making their views known - through a prayerful protest - about the play being performed at Siena Heights University this coming weekend.
Kathy Potts, of Jackson, is working with a group of concerned individuals in Adrian to organize a grassroots prayerful protest of the production.
The prayerful protest will take place during the production of the play on campus. Those gathered will be praying the Rosary publicly, as well as a Litany of the Saints. The prayers will take place on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the public sidewalk in front of Dominican Hall on the Adrian campus.
“Even before the bishop spoke out, at least two parish bulletins in the area had information on the production, urging people to contact the University president to respectfully ask it to be cancelled,” explained Potts.
"I am an alumni of Siena Heights and am saddened and appalled that they would show something so denigrating to woman," wrote Fr. Matt Hartley, pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church, in response to the bishop's Facebook post. "Daughters of God are sacred like a chalice and that production treats women as disposable."
“We’re very concerned,” said Siena Heights alumna Kate Hayes and fellow protest organizer, who said that she has received support from alumni, faculty, and trustees of the University. “One of our main concerns is that the University is not complying with the bishop’s oversight.”
“This is a scandal not only for Catholics, but for our non-Catholic friends as well,” explained Hayes. “This keeps people from campus. I’ve been contacted by people who had planned to attend the campus musical production of ‘Little Women,’ (April 12-14) but decided not to.”
Hayes said that individuals from as far away as Lansing (a two-hour drive) have said that they will be participating in the prayerful protest.
The University released an official statement about its decision to continue with the production. That statement said:
...the play contains offensive language and describes activities that are clearly in opposition to Catholic moral teaching. In no way does the presentation of “The Vagina Monologues” represent an endorsement of these behaviors on the part of the university and this will be made clear at the beginning of the presentation.
In the apostolic constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II noted that the Catholic university is “a primary and privileged place for a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and culture.” (3.34) We recognize that the culture in which our students are immersed holds many values that are at odds with the Catholic tradition. We do our students no service to deny that this culture exists. It is our goal, as a Catholic University, to ensure that the dialogue is truly a dialogue, one in which faith and culture engage each other in a meaningful and respectful way.
“People are tired of watching our Catholic identity being bashed, and young souls continually being led astray,” said Potts. “People are really rising up and saying it’s time to take a stand and reclaim our Catholic identity, especially at our colleges.”
In addition to Bishop Boyea’s statement, Potts said that pastors and deacons are positively supporting the protest and plan to participate.
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.