Student Producers Cancel Notre Dame Performances of ‘Vagina Monologues’
April 7, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Student producers of The Vagina Monologues at the University of Notre Dame decided to cancel 2009 performances of the often criticized, verbally pornographic play, the student newspaper The Observer reports. Both Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop D’Arcy and the Catholic education watchdog organization, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), have been highly critical of Notre Dame administrators for past productions of the play.
“It is wonderful news that Notre Dame students will not host the Monologues this year,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Students at Catholic colleges and universities ought to seek ways to address awareness of violence against women, one of the stated goals of the production, but that purpose is thwarted by the Monologues’ pornographic and demeaning content.
“Fortunately, Catholic teachings provide a wealth of material to use to promote the dignity of women, and Notre Dame’s own Edith Stein Project provides a ready alternative to Monologues productions.”
The Vagina Monologues is a sexually explicit play that favorably describes lesbian activity, group masturbation and the reduction of sexuality to selfish pleasure. In one scene, the lesbian seduction and rape of a teenage girl is described as the victim’s “salvation” that “raised her into a kind of heaven.”
In March, CNS reported that 15 Catholic campuses were holding productions of the play in 2009, down from a high of 32 in 2003 when CNS launched its campaign to lead opposition to the V-Monologues on Catholic campuses.
The Vagina Monologues have taken place at Notre Dame every year since 2002, with the exception in 2007 of an off-campus show. In 2008, Bishop John D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese publicly voiced his disapproval of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins’ decision to permit to play on campus.
Bishop D’Arcy said, “The overriding issue here is moral. The play is an affront to human dignity, as Catholic teaching understands it. If it is performed, it should be denounced. Otherwise, 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 2009 performances of the Monologues were cancelled by students as a result of the controversy surrounding the play.
“We were not forbidden by the University to do the Monologues and we didn’t give up fighting,” said Junior Miriam Olsen, a past Notre Dame producer of the play.
She and many other involved students determined not to produce the show this year “because they believed the controversy on campus that follows the show is ultimately counterproductive to the show’s purpose,” The Observer reports.
Olsen noted that “what happens when the ‘Monologues’ are put on, is they turn into more of a scandal than an action piece.”