- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2007

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Catholics are criticizing the University of Minnesota’s decision to stage a play that portrays a mentally ill pope using heroin and endorsing artificial contraception.

Despite protests from Catholics, Dario Fo’s play, “The Pope and the Witch,” began a nine-day run last week at the university’s theater department. Minneapolis Archbishop Harry Flynn has denounced the play, directed by visiting assistant professor Robert Rosen, as an expression of “hatred and prejudice” toward Catholics.

University President Robert Bruininks has defended the production on the grounds of “the free exchange of ideas and academic freedom.” In response to protests, the university scheduled a panel discussion after the performance Thursday, but Catholic League President William Donohue complained that no Catholics were asked to be on the panel.

“That’s interesting: The play was purposely selected to bash Catholicism, and now Catholics are purposely being denied the right to be on the very panel they pushed for,” Mr. Donohue said. “This is what the University of Minnesota stands for: free speech for Catholic bashers and no speech for Catholics.”

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