Performances of "The Vagina Monologues" has caused quite a stir at Catholic universities across the country.
The play, traditionally performed around Valentine's Day, is being put on by students at about 20 Catholic schools this year, including DePaul and Georgetown universities and Boston College, reported The Associated Press.
The play will also be performed at the University of Notre Dame. But Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins announced last month he was scaling back the production of the Eve Ensler play this year, limiting it to a classroom setting and barring ticket sales. The controversial play addresses different female sexual experiences, including lesbian sex and rape.
But several schools, such as Providence College, have banned it altogether, saying it sends the wrong message. “It is deeply antithetical to the way Catholics think about sex," Fr. Brian Shanley, Providence College president, told the AP.
Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative group wants the play removed from Catholic campuses. He told the AP that the situation presents the problem of limits — where does a Catholic university draw the line?
“At a Catholic institution, when it comes to moral issues, the limits are probably going to be more strict than at another institution that has no understanding of moral truths," he was quoted as saying.
According to the AP, Fr. Jenkins is also seeking input from students, faculty and alumni on whether the play, as well as a gay film festival scheduled to take place this weekend, should be allowed on campus at all.
In the meantime, in an effort to clear up a perception that the festival is organized to "celebrate and promote homosexual activity,” the priest has ordered the three-year-old Queer Film Festival renamed the Gay & Lesbian Film: Filmmakers, Narratives, Spectatorships.
A student group, called United for Free Speech, has collected more than 1,000 signatures so far in a petition drive in favor of the programs.