Tim Drake

12 Catholic colleges to host obscene play The Vagina Monologues this year

Tim Drake
By Tim Drake

February 12, 2013 (CNS) - The Cardinal Newman Society has confirmed that at least 12 Catholic colleges and universities will be hosting on-campus productions of the play The Vagina Monologues in 2013. That number is up from nine last year.

Proceeds from performances at the University of San Francisco will support a group that advocates “reproductive justice” and homosexual rights. The V-Day organization reports that students at Marquette have plans for a performance benefiting Planned Parenthood.

Catholic bishops and college presidents have pointed out that The V-Monologues distorts human sexuality and celebrates sinful behaviors, including lesbian activity and masturbation. One scene even declares a lesbian rape of a teenage girl her “salvation” which raised her into “a kind of heaven.”

In 2004, the late Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend wrote in protest against the University of Notre Dame’s performance of the play:

The Vagina Monologues is offensive to women; it is antithetical to Catholic teaching on the beautiful gift of human sexuality and also to the teachings of the Church on the human body relative to its purpose and to its status as a temple of the Holy Spirit. The human body and the human person, in the tradition of the Church, must never be seen as an object.

This play violates the truth about women; the truth about sexuality; the truth about male and female, and the truth about the human body. 

In 2006, Providence College President Father Brian Shanley, O.P., explained his opposition to the play:

A V-Day presentation of The Vagina Monologues is not appropriate for a school with our mission. Far from celebrating the complexity and mystery of female sexuality, The Vagina Monologues simplifies and demystifies it by reducing it to the vagina. In contrast, Roman Catholic teaching sees female sexuality as ordered toward a loving giving of self to another in a union of body, mind and soul that is ordered to the procreation of new life. The deeper complexity and mystery lies in the capacity of human sexuality, both male and female, to sacramentalize the love of God in marriage.Any depiction of female sexuality that neglects its unitive and procreative dimensions diminishes its complexity, its mystery and its dignity. Moreover, to explore fully the dignity of woman requires not only a consideration of female sexuality, but also of the capacity of women for intellectual, artistic, moral and spiritual activity; none of these dimensions are featured in The Vagina Monologues.

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But some on Catholic campuses disagree.

“I think the ability to pursue truth and discuss things is important,” said Nick Kaplan, contact person for the play and assistant professor of Spanish at Michigan’s Siena Heights University, where a student group is sponsoring two performances of the play.

The play is often promoted as supporting the end to violence against women, and is used as a fundraiser by many schools to support women’s shelters.

But for more than a decade, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has opposed performances as inappropriate vehicles for fundraising, even for a worthy cause.

“The dirty dozen Catholic colleges that are hosting The V-Monologues this year are out of step with the rest of American Catholic higher education,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The play is vile and corrosive, with no academic value.”

CNS has monitored the internet and campus publications for evidence of Catholic colleges and universities hosting The V-Monologues since 2001.The number of campuses with performances of the play reached a high of 32 in 2003.

CNS has contacted each of the colleges and asked them to confirm whether or not the The V-Monologues are indeed taking place. In the end, CNS confirmed that 12 Catholic colleges and universities have been identified as hosting the play.

The following Catholic institutions were listed either on the website VDay.org or elsewhere online, and/or confirmed to CNS on the phone or via email as hosting The V-Monologues in 2013:

Bellarmine University has the play on both March 23 and March 24 at Hilary’s in Horrigan Hall. The calendar for the Office of Multicultural Affairs says that the performance is independently funded by the performers themselves.

“Bellarmine University does not sponsor or host the event,” said Arielle Danielle Clark, the contact for the play. “A group of students who happen to attend Bellarmine University perform the production every year. Bellarmine University does not endorse, and is not in any way connected to The Vagina Monologues. In our advertisements, our production is known as ‘The Vagina Monologues at Bellarmine University’…so that people who are interested in seeing the monologues know the location of them.”

The College of the Holy Cross’ Women’s Forum is sponsoring performances on Feb. 25 and 26 in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom. Cristal Steuer, manager of Communications and Media Relations, confirmed that the performance is taking place.

Dominican University is hosting a student-directed production of the play on Feb. 14 in the Priory Campus Auditorium, sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Program. Daniel Armstrong, public relations manager, confirmed the performance.

The Georgetown University website lists at least four performances between Feb. 21 and 24 presented by Georgetown University Take Back the Night.

In addition, Georgetown University Law Center also has a showing pending on Feb. 21.The Vagina Monologues funds were allocated by the Student Bar Association to the Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

Loyola University Chicago’s V-Day Club is planning performances on March 15 and 16 in the Mundelein Auditorium. The performances are being sponsored by the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, according to Steve Christensen, communications manager.

The Saint Mary’s College of California Women’s Resource Center boasts that its Feb. 15 presentation of the play in The Soda Center is its 10th annual.

Seattle University’s Society of Feminists student group is putting on a performance of the play on March 1, 2, and 3, in the University’s Pigott Auditorium. It is the fifth time the play has been presented at Seattle University, though Stacy Howard, media relations specialist, said that it is neither “hosted or sponsored” by the university.

A sorority at Siena Heights University in Michigan is sponsoring a performance on April 19 and 20. Nick Kaplan, assistant professor of Spanish at the university, who is listed as a contact for the play, confirmed that the performances are taking place.

The University of Detroit Mercy’s Women and Gender Studies Program and Theatre Department are co-sponsoring a production on Feb. 28 in the Student Center.

University of San Francisco’s The College Players plan to perform the play, which they describe as an “annual tradition,” on April 27 and 28 in the McLaren Complex. College Players’ student Terazia Jeanne confirmed the performances would be taking place. They will benefit the Alliance for Girls, a San Francisco organization that among other things promotes "reproductive justice" and homosexual rights. The keynote speaker for the Alliance's Feb. 28 conference will be Kate Kendall of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which works to legalize same-sex "marriage." And an upcoming Alliance luncheon with the ACLU of Northern California will celebrate "reproductive justice" including "a woman's right to choose."

Anne-Marie Devine, senior director of media relations at USF, said that she could not confirm the information.

“There is talk The College Players have selected that play, but it is not set in stone,” said Devine.

Xavier University of Ohio’s student group, Students for Women’s Progress, is sponsoring a production April 2 at Xavier’s Kelley Auditorium. “University administrators are working with faculty and SWP to ensure that information and viewpoints from an appropriate range of different perspectives will be presented, allowing students to pursue truth, all within the context of Xavier as a Jesuit Catholic University,” said Kelly Leon,director for strategic communication.

In addition to the 12 confirmed, three additional showings were either in the planning process or being performed off-campus by a campus student group. They include: 

Una – The Feminist Voice at SLU, a sanctioned student club at Saint Louis University, is sponsoring an off-campus performance on March 7 and 8.

As of publication date, the student group Empowerment at Marquette University had submitted a request to perform the play April 5 in the AMU Ballroom, but The Cardinal Newman Society was told by Andy Brodzeller, media relations specialist, that the request had not yet gone through the University’s approval process, and that it “would not be approved as submitted.” According to V-Day, the intended beneficiary is Planned Parenthood.

“As Marquette has done in the past, we will require that any production be sponsored and held by an academic program or department and not a student organization,” said Brodzeller. “This ensures any production is performed in an academic context,with appropriate discussion allowing multiple viewpoints to be heard, including the relevance of Catholic teaching to the issues raised.”

Finally, it’s not clear whether or not a performance is taking place at Loyola University New Orleans, but the V-Day website shows that someone registered for an event. Director of Public Affairs Meredith Hartley told CNS that she expected the Alpha Psi Omega national honors fraternity would be sponsoring a performance of the play again this year, as they have done in the past, but could not provide information on the dates, times, or locations of the performances. James Shields, communications coordinator, however, said that nothing is scheduled and there’s no indication the event will take place.

Reprinted with permission from The Catholic Education Daily.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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