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Saturday, March 26, 2011


Magister Christianus

I expect this from a secular university. Surely I have the right to expect a Catholic ethos at a Catholic university, as surely as I would expect a Muslim ethos at a Muslim institution. Furthermore, has anyone discussed the patently sophomoric nature of TVM? I remember reading parts of it once. It was utterly absurd and juvenile in its attempt to play cute with various expressions describing a woman's private parts. Are we really to believe that the brazen proclamation of gutter terminology is drama?


Most Catholic Universities are secular.

Father Joseph,SJ

Extremely disappointing that a Jesuit University would permit such events. It must be a pathos within Jesuit Universities throughout the country ..they seemingly have open their doors to what which is not Catholic. Sad. As one who was educated by Jesuits at the Gregorian, it is truly disappointing as a Jesuit.

John Charles

The nonsense of confusion, euphemism, and secularism marches on unabated without any discipline of the mind and certainly not by any Catholic superior. The trajedy is that anything orthodox gets wacked up along side of the head and then kindly bows out.


I don't know why anyone acts surprised about this. Vatican 2 itself paved the way for the kind of tortured logic we see here.


If the Blessed Virgin were in the room, would any of these people be able to lift their foreheads off the floor long enough to conduct or watch this play?

A. Clark

Kudos to Dr. Cunningham's courage and honest logic - refreshing! I think St. Ignatius would have (does!) applauded Cunningham's remarks.


Sounds like Catholic Universities these days think their mission is to make play dough out of the students gray matter in order to obliterate their sense of right and wrong. They certainly are not fostering the environment to farm vocations. No wonder lawyers, doctors and Wall Street Investors are so lacking in virtuous ethics.

Well, this comment will not be published because I know from experience that free discussion isn't valued much at all here. But, you know college students aren't a bunch of morons who will lose our faith or sense of morality over a play. I know you like to think we are because that's how you can pat us on the head and ignore us while thinking of yourselves as "good Catholics" while you arrogantly dismiss anyone who doesn't agree with your narrow view of Church teaching. But, really, we are not.

Deacon Bryan

Scrambledmegzntoast -

What bothers me about the Vagina Monologues being held on Gonzaga's campus is all the work and creativity the students will put forward to put on the play, while there are many other plays that represent Church teaching regarding morality much better that can be used to provoke the discussions the students are seeking. Why not use "The Jeweler's Shop" or even "A Man For All Seasons" to provoke discussion?

We aren't afraid that many associated with GU are going to lose their faith by attending the play. We're sad and disappointed by the evidence that many associated with GU already have lost their faith. There certainly doesn't seem to be as much passion explaining Church teaching regarding sexuality ( a teaching that I encountered and fell in love with when I was in college when it was presented to me by another student). The human body deserves to be reverenced, as it is the image of God. I don't personally see this reverence in the monologues. Perhaps you can point me to a part of the play that does display this reverence (The plot summary can be viewed here: ). I just don't see why we always have to turn to provocative and somewhat offensive means to have discussions about important matters.

GU students for Life hosted Abby Johnson on March 22nd. If students want to have discussion about issues of human dignity, why not do it then? Should we be alarmed if the attendance of the Monologues outweighs the attendance of Abby's talk? My instincts say yes, but I'm open to your perspective if you disagree.

Also, Mr. Olson quoted at length from another source to argue his point, and I don't think that anything in that quote can be dismissed as arrogance.



Would you put any limit at all on what a University should portray in a play? Wouldn't any limit be "patting you on the head"? Or do you have some limits on what you would protest and what you would support at a college campus?

I'd appreciate knowing your thoughts.


Dear Scrambledmegzntoast:

Sin is contagious, and it makes people stupid. If you do not think so, you are not arrogant or a moron, just very young. As a professor I know from experience that such realist talk isn't valued much at all by students intent on talking about diversity of life choices and beliefs..

You also might try addressing any of the arguments in the letter, instead of bypassing them to play the victim. Please argue like a grownup.

daniel m malone

My wife and I have invested in 138 years of Catholic education for our children. Catholic education is the best parenting partner available to the family. Now that we have arrived at the end of this commitment, I must admit my only regret is that 41 of those years were invested with Jesuit universities. I had no idea at the outset that the elitism dominating the Jesuit communities would manifest itself in outright blasphemy and sacriligious example by these Jesuits to the children that unknowing parents sent to them. I was tricked and so were my children. I hope the liberation theology gang that perpetuates the hoax of being a "Catholic University" are preparing their defenses when they will be called upon to account. Dad9omaha


Enough already with jesuit filth. I'm tired of their stench in Holy Mother Church.

If that's "uncharitable," so be it.

Deacon Bryan,

I think the students could do both. I am not very familiar with the play in question, I just know it seems to cause a number of issues with commentators when it comes up at Catholic universities, particularly by those who are the self-appointed arbiters of what constitutes a "Catholic" university and what does not. A play of "A Man for All Seasons" would be great, of course, but I don't see why we can't argue that they could do both. By the way, I'm not sure, based on what I do know of "The Vagina Monologues", how "A Man for all Seasons" would provoke anything similar to the same discussion.

I guess this is my real problem here. Just because a school offers such a play, it doesn't mean the school is not "Catholic", which I don't think people realize is a pretty harsh condemnation of the students who attend there, something I am pretty sensitive to since so many have very publicly decided that my school (and, by inference, all of us students) are not Catholic based on who spoke at our graduation ceremony two years ago. A lot of people like to make pronunciations about schools where they have never once set foot upon a campus nor met a student. I see many people doing it right here on these comments based on one issue. I'm tired of my school, and others, being used as a tool to fight the political/cultural wars of others. I'm not oblivious to the fact that the Church is losing people my age in large numbers. Do you think self-righteous condescension (I'm not accusing you at all) is going to help?

Sue, I don't know. I don't think it's ever a good idea to try to draw some line and say "well, this will be OK and this will not be" without first making a judgment based on the merits of each play. Have you ever watched a movie with sex or violence or drug use? Have you ever seen a TV show or a movie or a play that portrays sin? Did you turn away?

Joe, thank you for proving my point about arrogance. I knew the name calling/personal attacks would commence quickly.



I don't really follow. Your first post in this thread is about how this site doesn't value free discussion, you know what everyone on here is thinking, and that we have a narrow view of Church teaching. Does this make you an arbiter of free speech, telepathy, and the 'real' view of Church teaching?

Your attitude and wrong headed accusations do not indicate that you are interested in 'free discussion' on this topic.

Nancy D.

That which demeans the inherent dignity of the human person should certainly not be condoned at a school that professes to be Catholic.

Carl E. Olson

Scrambled: If your intention is to play the innocent and tolerant victim being unfairly mauled by narrow-minded and puritanical zealots, you might want to take a few acting classes. And while you're at it, you might want to take a few courses in rhetoric. Reading your comments, I glean the following:

• You assume (or state outright) that this blog and its authors/commenters are narrow-minded, intolerant, and arrogant. Do I really have to point out that questioning the goodness of producing a vulgar/semi-pornographic and poorly written play on a Catholic campus is hardly outrageous or intolerant? Does it need to be noted that the cynical quoting of "Ex Corde Ecclesiae" to justify the production of a play that presents immoral behavior in an amoral fashion is problematic? I guess it does.

• You've not read "The Vagina Monologues", nor do you know much about it. But you would talk down to those of us who have read it (and, yes, I have read it; here's a link to one version) and have long followed various controversies involving TVM. Some would call that arrogant; I simply call it unwise.

• You assume that no one here has a right to comment about what constitutes a Catholic college, which implies that you think no one here has a right to say, "This is Catholic teaching" or "That is contrary to Catholic moral teaching". Of course, this begs the question: what right do you have to say or imply any such thing? If this is all a matter of opinion, what sort of authority (whether of position or learning) do you possess?

• You apparently assume no one here knows much of anything about Gonzaga. First, the main part of my post consisted of quotes from Dr. Eric Cunningham, who has been at GU for seven years; I think it is fair to say that he knows quite a bit about GU. Secondly, I've been on the GU campus several times, have given a talk there, and know quite a few people who teach/have taught and attend/have attended GU.

• You wrote: "I don't think it's ever a good idea to try to draw some line and say 'well, this will be OK and this will not be' without first making a judgment based on the merits of each play." Well, I and many other Catholics (to reiterate my second point) have read the play and have found it seriously wanting in every way (here is just one example). It is vulgar, amoral, semi-pornographic (or worse), and in no way offers an authentically Catholic understanding of sexuality and related issues.

• Finally, to be fair, you were accurate when you wrote, "I knew the name calling/personal attacks would commence quickly." Yes, that began when you accused me, the moderator of this blog, of being intolerant, arrogant, and narrow-minded.

Deacon Bryan

Scrambledmegz -

Thanks for the reply. While "A Man For All Seasons" probably wouldn't bring up a discussion on the same material (sexual morality) it does get to the root of the issues as it discusses the role of conscience in moral decision making and the need for a well formed conscience.

Whether it wants it or not, GU (and any Catholic College) has a role in forming the consciences of those who attend the University. I really don't think that the VMs form healthy consciences. I believe that there are several reasons that the Vagina Monologues fail at forming consciences well.

1) They use vocabulary that does not reverence the female form as the image of God.

2) In normalizes sexual experiences that a well formed conscience would automatically reject as being wrong... not only do several monologues portray homosexuality, but one of them (dubbed, The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could) speaks of a 13 year old girl having a "positive sexual experience" with an older woman who supplied her with alcohol.

3) There is no monologue which features sexual activity in its appropriate context, which is between a man and a woman united in marriage. Even the monologue about childbirth leaves a lot to be desired.

Getting back to your original post, while students might not lose all of their faith through seeing this play, they certainly could have it eroded if the themes discussed become normalized. I graduated from college in '04 and I do not share your optimism that college students are smart enough or strong enough to hold on to faith and morals while being bombarded with lies.

I am optimistic that when college students are taught truth and have the light of the Gospel shed on their own personal experiences of sexuality (and perhaps their friends expereinces of sexuality ) that they will be able to live their sexuality with the dignity that God gave it. I don't see how the Vagina Monologues shed light on the truth of our sexuality. Until I do, I will continue to ask what the Hell is going on at our Catholic Colleges.

Dan Deeny

A college student who acted in the Vagina Monogues gave it to me and I read it. Poorly written and silly. But we could also argue that the tone of the play abuses women. Perhaps Dr. Cunningham can write a series of articles explaining how the play attacks women?
Most important of all, Eve Ensler, who wrote the play, is now being treated for uterine cancer. She has lived a troubled and confused life. We must pray for her.


"That which demeans the inherent dignity of the human person should certainly not be condoned at a school that professes to be Catholic."

Not a word about God. Thoroughly anthropocentric. The truth is, that which offends God - whether it does or doesn't "demean the inherent dignity of the human person" - must not be condoned anywhere.

Doug Pearson

If GU were a Catholic School this "play" would never have been discussed as a possibility on campus. Catholic schools to do not host, promote or produce near occasions of sin for their students and faculty.

I, like all other Catholics promise to avoid the near occasion of sin every time we go to confession. This play “contains graphic descriptions of homosexual, extra-marital heterosexual, and auto-erotic experiences," and “even depiction of seduction of a sixteen year-old girl by an adult woman."- Father Jenkins just before he approved it for ND.

A Catholic school would not sponsor or create an occasion of sin.

I have 8 children who will not be attending Jesuit schools, we prefer Catholic schools.

If this qualifies me as a narrow minded Puritan or a Catholic Fundamentalist...send me an ID card.

Narrowly yours,
Doug Pearson


Augustine posted: "Not a word about God. Thoroughly anthropocentric. The truth is, that which offends God - whether it does or doesn't "demean the inherent dignity of the human person" - must not be condoned anywhere."

"Thoroughly anthropocentric"? Oh please, you must've really felt like correcting somebody. Nancy D.'s post was fine. Yours is just pedantic.

class of '12

i'm glad we're finally allowed to do this play. despite it's controversial message, i believe that we, as a educated adults, have a right to watch, listen, and consider it's arguments. whether or not i condone various messages of the play is irrelevant. i've seen the vagina monologues once before, and i found myself inspired. i'm proud to say that the youth at Gonzaga and all around the country are finally becoming more open-minded. perhaps we have something we can teach the older generation.

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