December 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com)- The Archbishop of Paris is denouncing a new blasphemous, anti-Christian play after being criticized for defending a similarly vulgar and blasphemous production recently put on in Paris.
Cardinal Archbishop André Vingt-Trois is calling for a prayer vigil in reparation for the debut of “Golgotha Picnic,” which follows the October production of an anti-Christian play at the Parisian Theatre de la Ville. Under his leadership, the French Episcopal Conference is also calling on Catholics to contact their elected officials in protest.
Actors in the new play are shown in full frontal nudity with close-up video shots of their genitals, in burlesque satire on the crucifixion. A version shown recently in Madrid reportedly provoked many to leave when an actress began to masturbate on stage.
The Theatre de la Ville production, “On the Concept of the Face of the Son of God,” which sparked protests by Catholics and Muslims, showed an image of Christ with feces pouring out of its eyes, and the message “Christ is my shepherd” with the flashing word “not.” It was produced in part with government funds.
Although a number of French bishops spoke out against the play and congratulated the protesters, Vingt-Trois defended the production, calling the protesters “useful idiots” and asking the demonstrations to stop. He claimed, “no christianophobia is involved” in the play.
Following the widespread coverage of the controversy in the media and complaints to the Vatican by concerned Catholics, Vingt-Trois is now denouncing the new production and calling for prayer at the debut of the play, which has been set for December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the holiest days in the Catholic calendar.
In addition, Vatican Insider is reporting that a press release signed by Msgr. Bernard Podvin on behalf of the French episcopal conference states that European institutions should not finance “a production that denigrates a religion,” adding that “many non-Christians share our anger.”
“Call your elected officials. Tell them that this is unacceptable and unworthy of a democracy. In November 2009, the European Union reaffirmed its firm commitment for the protection of religious liberty. Christians are active in civil life, and support many causes. May they, too, be respected!”
Vatican Insider speculates that Vingt-Trois’ turnaround may be the result of a Vatican intervention.
“It seems that the French bishops and the Cardinal of Paris have woken up,” writes Marco Tosatti (http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/blog-san-pietro-e-dintorni-en/detail/articolo/10350/) in his blog for the publication. “Maybe after someone in Rome pointed out that it wasn’t fitting to leave the defense of the figure of Christ up to a few groups.”