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Visitors protest Monologues

Tess Civantos | Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A group of 11 protested the presence of the Vagina Monologues being performed this week on Notre Dame’s campus at the intersection of Notre Dame Avenue and Angela Boulevard Tuesday March 25.

The protestors came from the Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) student action group, and were led by the group’s director, John Ritchie. None of the protestors were from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross College.

“We are volunteers,” said Ritchie, explaining the group drove from Pennsylvania to protest. He said the protestors are on spring break from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Institute.

“What really motivates us to protest is our Catholic faith,” Ritchie said. “Being faithful to the moral teachings of the Church is so important to us that anytime we see something opposing it, we have to speak out.”

“Notre Dame is an icon of Catholic education in America,” said Ritchie, explaining the group’s motivation in targeting Notre Dame for protest.

“We’re protesting the play at every Catholic campus where it’s being held,” Ritchie added.

The Vagina Monologues used to be performed at 36 Catholic campuses and is now only performed at 19, Ritchie said, citing protests as a factor that caused several universities to cancel the play.

The protestors held signs with slogans such as, “Honk if you are against the V-Monologues at ND.” Over a dozen passing cars honked over the course of fifteen minutes. One woman leaned out her window and called “Thank you” to the protestors. A younger man shouted “Freedom of speech” as he drove past.

This protest was in no way affiliated with any campus groups or anyone from Notre Dame.

“I didn’t know anything about this protest,” said Mary Kate Daly, a Notre Dame student who is involved in organizing students opposed to the presence of the Vagina Monologues on campus.

“I agree with their reasons for not supporting the Monologues on campus,” she said of the protest. But Daly said student protests will be different.

“Today’s protest is more confrontational, much more vocal,” she said. “Ours is more of a ‘silent witness’ to a particular standpoint. We hope to give a message to the administration about our disappointment that they are allowing the Monologues to be on campus for seven out of the past eight years.”

Daly said that she also wants students to start to think about the play because of the protests.

“We also hope to get students to think about this play,” said Daly. “Mainly, though, we are sending a message to the University that it’s not a particular group, but rather a student contingent that is opposed to the Monologues on campus.”

Daly said that students’ reasons for protesting are similar to those that motivated the TFP.

“It is a disgusting, vile play that does nothing to promote the dignity of women. It’s also degrading to men since it encourages disrespect of women,” said Daly citing the Theology of the Body and John Paul II’s apostolic letter as “better ways to approach the topic” which the Monologues address.

“This play only inspires more anger, more hurt. It really doesn’t accomplish what it intends,” she said.