A reader sent me more on the
story I posted on earlier this
week about the action of my bishop.
A scheduled performance of
“Magdalene,” a traveling one-woman play about the often controversial
Catholic saint Mary Magdalene, was banned from St. Augustine Catholic
Church this week after a University of Florida student appealed to the
bishop of the diocese.
According to a statement published in St. Augustine’s weekly bulletin,
Bishop Victor Galeone decided to cancel the performance on the grounds
that portions of the script “call into question the Church’s position
on two sacraments.” Hosting the play in a Catholic setting, Galeone
said, “would be a counter-witness to important Church teaching.”
Galeone’s decision came days after an 18-year-old member of St.
Augustine’s parish, Jonathan Knox, submitted a letter outlining his
concerns about the church-sponsored performance, which was being
promoted as a theatrical representation of Jesus’ life through
“I found excerpts online that really disturbed me,” Knox said,
specifically pointing to the show’s final scene, when, according to his
research, the actress lifts bread and wine to mimic the sacrament of
Eucharist performed only by ordained Catholic priests.
Knox said he interpreted the scene as an attack on the current Catholic
stance against ordaining women as priests.
“From this scene alone, I fear scandal will be brought about and a
great mockery will be performed against Christ in the Eucharist and
against the priesthood,” Knox wrote in his letter to Galeone.
… In response, Galeone banned the performance from St. Augustine’s
all other local Catholic facilities, but left it up to organizers to
decide whether they wanted to reschedule the performance at a different
Much like recent depictions of Magdalene in novels such as “The Da
Vinci Code,” Knox said the script also alludes to a romantic
relationship between Magdalene and Jesus.
The play is by an anonymous author and is
now going to show at The United Church of Gainesville instead.
I was really shocked when I found this circulating on the blogosphere, especially since I have read from this blog in the past!
If you read the article, you’ll see that at the bottom we will be at United Church of Gainesville for the play tomorrow, praying a Rosary plus some acts of reparation. Thanks be to God and to Bishop Galeone that this play will not be taking place at St. A’s, but it’s still going on.
Please pray for our parish. This play is but the tip of the iceberg. We are trying to do all in our power to restore the Catholicity of the parish, but of course we can do nothing without God’s grace.
WELL, God bless you, Jonathan. And cheers to your bishop!
As to those who insist that such tripe should be consumed before it is dispensed with – in a “critical intelligent fashion” – I would suggest that, gee, maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking through the bishop (or maybe that’s just too old-fashioned of me).
Now, excuse me while I embark upon a long-awaited, critical analysis of “Mein Kampf” – NOT!
…an 18-year-old member of St. Augustine’s parish, Jonathan Knox, submitted a letter outlining his concerns about the church-sponsored performance
This shows that hope is on the horizon.
That the Bishop listened to an 18 year old shows that even more hope is on the horizon.
Lord bless you Jonathan. I will indeed be praying for you.
Ditto! Release the blogosphere hounds!
That kid needs his own blog!
I think he already has one!
Go to my blog to see other beauty now showing in Florida, our state.
Ok, I have yet to read this play, but I still ask has anyone critically read this play before anything?
I understand the concern. But I shake my head. I may end up there in a few years for a PH.D. I just ask myself that question.
Can we not address these literary theological matters in a critical intelligent fashion with the help of the Holy Spirit?
Has anyone read this?
Nice work, Jonathan. I am praying for your intentions.
Jeanne wrote: “Can we not address these literary theological matters in a critical intelligent fashion with the help of the Holy Spirit?”
Not only can we…we MUST! If Catholics cannot read about, write about our contemporary culture, then we marginalize ourselves and deeply wound our ability to influence positively the Junk World we live in. Now, having said all that, we need to make a vital distinction here. There is a fundamental difference btw the play being performed and the play being performed in a church or parish hall. I think Jonathan was right to object to the play being performed in the church/hall. However, I see no reason why a Catholic can’t see the play if they are prepared properly to avoid scandal. I would see it w/o a moment’s hesitation. Of course, I’m an English prof with years of experience dealing with secular literature and hostile, anti-Catholic tripe…which mean two things: 1) I can smell B.S. at a thousand feet and 2) I’ve smelled it enough that it doesn’t much bother me anymore…
Fr. Philip, OP