September 17, 2006

A Director of Pope and the Witch Responds

This morning I received in my Moderate Comments mailbox a letter from Stephan Golux (nee Genn). Mr. Golux directed The Pope and the Witch at Yale School of Drama in 1996. I know that not everyone reads comments and I wanted to make sure that Mr. Golux's comments are read. I can only assume this is truly Stephan Golux and not an imposter. It appears he created a blog identity for the sole purpose of responding to my post. I wrote a letter in reply to Mr. Golux after his letter. I'm sure many of you will have comments to add.

Dear Cathy:

I directed this play, one of the two reviews you chose as a link in your blog. I can only say that you have misread the play. Or perhaps, more to the point, you have not read the play, and mis-apprehended the content.

Dario Fo uses his satirical farce to offer political criticism of the Vatican, not of the catholic faith. This difference is fundamental. I encourage you to read the play before you assume that the purpose of the play is to disrespect anyone's religion.

I myself received death threats (of course sent anonymously) at the time when I directed this work. The authors of these threats were never found, even though the FBI was called in. (It was a federal case because the mail had been used to send a threat of murder which is a federal offense - a felony in fact). However, much of the evidence that was found suggests that P2 and other Freemason cliques that have established themselves as political forces at the Vatican were the ones trying to discredit and censor and silence this play.

I can only say that if you wish your religion to continue to be controlled by and beholden to the shadowy groups who appear to hold all reins of power at the Vatican, continue to do what you can to have this play (and the research on which it is based) banned. On the other hand, if you are inclined to support the notion that criticism (including satire) can be used to expose corruption in even our most cherished institutions, thereby (perhaps) making them better, more open, and more truthful, then I would encourage you to rethink your stance. You might even consider attending.

Every single one of Mr. Fo's conjectures about the abuse of power at the Vatican are substantiated by reams and reams of independent research. This doesn't mean they are all true -- but they are certainly plausible. And no historian can possibly imagine that the Vatican is (or has been) free of intense and most non-religious political intrigue. Writing in Italy, a Catholic country with a very strong connection to organized crime and freemasonry, Mr. Fo takes a stance of great courage -- far more courage than it took for me to direct this play in the United States, death threats notwithstanding.

Again, I strongly encourage you to hold seperate the difference between criticizing Catholics for their beliefs, and criticizing the Vatican for secretive and hypocritical behavior. The current Pope himself is running amuck of Muslim fundamentalists unable to see that difference in the comments he made this week. Why make the same mistake?

Yours Truly,

-stephan golux

My letter in response is as follows:

Dear Mr. Golux:

Thank you for taking the time to write to me regarding The Pope and the Witch.

You are correct: I have not read the play or ever seen it performed. It was my intent never to read the play or see it. As a result of your letter, I have changed my mind about reading the play. I will obtain a copy and read it. Once I have read it, I intend to post my thoughts about it to my blog. Whether I will see the play or not, remains to be seen.

However, I fail to see how I, as a Catholic, can be reassured by your statements that Mr. Fo is only attacking the Vatican and not the Faith. I'm also not sure how you, or perhaps Mr. Fo, are defining Vatican. Is that the Pope, the Swiss Guard, the City, St. Peter's? All of the above? Would the definition of the term: Vatican also include clergy and religious outside of Vatican City?

If by Vatican you mean the See of St. Peter and the Pope then I take offense. Catholics believe that the Pope is a descendent of the first Pope-namely the Apostle Peter. Jesus, himself established the Catholic church when he gave Peter the "keys to the kingdom". "The Rock" on which the Church was established is believed to be in Rome-namely in St. Peter's in Vatican City.

Is the church perfect? Christ is perfect and His teachings are perfect but the church is not run by divine beings and we all have our faults. I could say the same about every major religion, or even secular business' on earth.

However, I take grievous exception to your insinuations that secret societies that have supposedly infiltrated and taken over the Catholic Church were responsible for death threats against you. In addition, the allegations that secret Catholic societies like: P2, Freemasonry, Illuminati, Priory of Sion, Opus Dei are plotting to take over the world and have infiltrated the Vatican is an unsubstantiated anti-Catholic bias that has been perpetrated for centuries. The Know-Nothing party, the Klu Klux Klan, Christian Evangelicals like Jimmy Swaggert, tract writers like Jack Chick, and authors like Dan Brown are just some of the historical instigators of these lies.

Should I assume, though I have no proof, that because you were at Yale you are a member of Skull and Bones or Scroll and Key? The same conspiracy theorists that love to claim the Catholic church is full of secret societies seeking to take over the world list the Yale secret societies as being collaborators.

I am not making the same mistake as the Muslim fundamentalists this week. I am not responding to something that I disagree with by using death threats and angry rhetoric. I am responding with charity and compassion. Above all, I strive to remain calm and balanced. Sometimes, with limited sucess, but I try to think before I react.

Since you suggested I read Mr. Fo's play may I also recommend that you read Amy Welborn's De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code.



Blogger Adoro said...

I would like to suggest that Mr. Golux's alleged credentials as a director of this play does NOT make him any kind of an expert with regard to the Catholic Church.

Additionally, Mr. Golux, the term "Catholic" in the context used in your letter is a proper noun as it is the title of the religion. This is a mistake which is commonly made in references to the Catholic Church or Catholicism. Even if you disagree with our beliefs it is grammatically correct to capitalize in this case.

Moving on....I would also like to know what kind of alleged "research" this play is built upon. You contradict yourself by saying in one breath that there has been great research, then admit that it's not necessarily true. So which is it? Good research, or poor, sloppy "research" ala Dan Brown? I suspect the latter.

Anyone can claim they've done "research" and you claim that the research was done for the play..but clearly, you have not read it for yourself, and if you have, then please cite the sources used. If Lorraine Boettner is in the mix, or "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", it is immediately to the discredit of anyone claiming that the play was "researched".

Additionally, claiming that John Paul the Great was corrupt (as you directly did in your letter), is slander, even though he has passed away. No court will convict you, but you will be answering to God on judgment day for your foolish claims. May the Lord have mercy on your soul and the souls of all associated with this attack against Catholicism and the Holy See.

Furthermore, you claim that the play is not an attack against our faith, yet the play attacks our beliefs very directly. Clearly, you do not understand that the Catholic Church is not a corporation, it is not a democracy, and it does not suck up to popular culture. Much to the great dismay of the world population. But that does not make the Church wrong, nor does it make the Church corrupt.

I claim far more allegiance to the Vatican, as the home of my spiritual father, the Vicar of Christ, than I do to the United States. And I would venture to say that this is true of any faithful Catholic.

So you see, an attack upon the Vatican is akin to an attack upon the Catholics of the world for we do not seperate our beliefs from our lives for they are assimilated. I do not expect you to understand this, but I do expect you and those of your ilk to listen, and I DEMAND that you treat us with the same respect you give to the religions with which you agree.

Thank you.

September 17, 2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger stephan said...

I have been looking at the page of the original post, where I had left my comments, for days now. After seeing nothing, I finally clicked back to the main page -- just saw Cathy's kind response and the subsequent september 17 comment. I have to jet at the moment to direct another play -- but I will have more to add later -- probably Monday.

Take care.

September 23, 2006 7:28 AM  

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