MUSEUM OF MODERN ART HOSTS ANTI-NUN FILM

Catalyst December Issue 1999

This fall, New York’s Museum of Modern Art played host for the premiere of “Women In Black,” a one-hour documentary on Catholic nuns produced and directed by Claudia Sherwood. The film was described as a “kaleidoscope of baby boomers’ memories” that featured “childhood experiences of physical and psychological punishment during their education by Catholic nuns, especially in the 1950s and 1960s.”

When William Donohue learned of this, he offered his thoughts on the subject to the press and made sure to share them with Ms. Sherwood. Here they are:

“Much of the Catholic bashing these days comes from adult ex-Catholics who are stuck in their adolescence. Claudia Sherwood is such a person. Stuck in the morass of her Catholic school experience of the late Fifties and early Sixties, she now wants to wallow in it while trying to make a fast buck off of her exploits. It is not surprising that her film gives profile to Christopher Durang and Albert Innaurato, two embittered anti-Catholic playwrights who met at Yale and have yet to move on.

“It was so nice of Ms. Sherwood to flag her little flick for me by sending along a useful packet of information. I was particularly taken by her comment to me that no one in the Church has ever apologized for the Catholic schools of her era, thus suggesting that she might yet get one. The same kind of psychological malady is apparent when she admits that when she was working on her project, she actually ‘became ill at times when research required me to contact the archdiocese, a nun or clergy.’ Had I known this, I would have provided her with one of our now-famous vomit bags.

“‘When I visited the Archdiocese building in New York I was panic stricken,’ she says. Too bad she didn’t know at the time that I work there—perhaps we could have met. I could have comforted her by showing compassion and engaging in dialogue, and instead she went home sobbing.”

Quotable: The Catholic League, as described in the November 15 edition of Time magazine: “a lay group with 350,000 members and an intimidating letterhead….” While we’re not sure what constitutes an “intimidating” letterhead, we’re mighty glad Time didn’t find it wimpy. Such scrutiny suggests, however, that Time keeps as close an eye on us as we do on them.


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Written by Bill