Making an analogy between the play and Nazi propaganda, Bishop D’Arcy said that just as a Catholic university in Nazi Germany should not have shown propaganda films, a Catholic university in the modern United States should not support modern propaganda. Speaking of a hypothetical Catholic university in Nazi Germany, Bishop D’Arcy asked, “Would not the university bear moral responsibility for the fact that some students who viewed the film on campus might be persuaded by the propaganda and became Nazi supporters?”
The bishop explicitly called the Vagina Monologues a work of propaganda. “The play is little more than a propaganda piece for the sexual revolution and secular feminism,” he said. “While claiming to deplore violence against women, the play at the same time violates the standards of decency and morality that safeguard a woman’s dignity and protect her, body and soul, from sexual predators.”
He called the play’s performance “pornographic and spiritually harmful.” He also said the play “depicts, exalts, and endorses” the sins of female masturbation, a sexual relationship between an adult woman and a child (which, he also noted, was a crime), and “the most base form of sexual relationship between a man and a woman.” He said these sinful actions are portrayed in the play as paths to healing, implying that heterosexual marriage is the wrong from which people need to recover.
Bishop D’Arcy said that the overriding issue in the controversy is moral, and if the play is performed it should be denounced. “Otherwise,” he said, “the university appears to endorse it as in some way good and the impression is given that Catholic teaching is one option competing among many. This method places faith in a defensive position and on the margin and is unacceptable at a Catholic university.”
The bishop cited Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II’s 1986 address to intellectuals, students, and university faculty, as a reason to refuse to allow performances of the play. Bishop D’Arcy said Catholic universities were made distinctive because “we start from the truth that has been revealed to us in the Word of God, the person of Jesus Christ, and the teaching of His Church.” He said the idea that truth will emerge from a discussion in which many points of view are represented both “disrespects revealed truth” and “separates the search for truth from the certainty of faith.”
“A decision not to sponsor the play is not only consistent with academic freedom but is a right use of such freedom for it shows respect for the truth, for the common good and the rights of others,” Bishop D’Arcy said.
The bishop encouraged Father Jenkins to reconsider his decision to allow the play for this year and for future years.
The full statement from Bishop D'Arcy can be found at: http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/statements.htm