A group of Parisians boycotted the opening of a theatrical play titled, “On the Concept of the Face in the Son of God,” by Italian playwright Romeo Castellucci.
During the show, the lead actor defecates numerous times in front of a painting of Christ.
The controversial 55 minute play features the story of an incontinent elderly man who suffers from diarrhea. He defecates continuously on the white stage that has as a backdrop of the 16th century painting by Antonello de Messina titled, “Salvator mundi.”
The story ends with a group of children running on stage in front of the painting of Christ under the caption, “You are not my pastor.”
On Oct. 20, the opening day of the play, 10 young people from the group “Renouvau Francais,” which according to the newspaper La Croix, is linked to the Society of St. Pius X, stormed the stage carrying a large banner that read, “Enough Christophobia!” Staff members became aggressive with them and when the police arrived the group was forced out of the hall.
Castellucci complained about the boycott in a letter to the group in which he defended his work, calling it “spiritual and Christ-like.” The theater hosting the play has sued the young people for disturbing the peace and violating freedom of artistic expression.
The French Catholic newspaper La Croix, which describes itself as “progressive,” published a story praising the work and condemning the protestors.
The director of the theater, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, rejected the boycott and argued that the play has been presented in more than a dozen European countries without provoking “any such kind of reaction.”
Alain Escada, the general secretary of the Civitas Institute – which is linked to the Lefebrvrists – was unsuccessful in his attempt to keep the play from opening. He said he was pleased with the boycott.
He expressed satisfaction that “at the debuting of these obscene and blasphemous shows in Paris, the indignation of Christians has been expressed with dignity and resolve, without overkill, despite everything the media puts out to misinform people.”
The spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, Bishop Bernard Podvin, told AFP news agency, “(t)he Catholic Church in France condemns the violence that has taken place during recent shows” and at the same time “promotes dialogue between the culture and the faith.”
After noting that the Church “reacts when it is necessary, with determination and always through peaceful means,” he said the bishops’ conference “supports freedom of expression that is respectful of the sacred.”
As citizens of France, he said, Catholics want their faith to be respected.