Maybe some day we will have a staff commensurate to the volume of work we have to investigate. But for right now, we can only do our best. Here’s an example.

We got an anonymous letter from two admitted Protestants about a play they saw that struck them as profoundly anti-Catholic. “Confessional” is a one-act play by a professor at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. His work, which was performed over the summer at the Chatham Playhouse in Chatham, New Jersey, was branded by the offend couple as “Catholic bashing” and “disgusting.”

According to the couple, “there’s an older, alcoholic, homosexual ex-communicated former priest” who begs a younger priest for more booze. He is told he’ll get his drink on condition that he delivers the neighborhood whore to his doorstep. This is followed by lewd comments, crotch-grabbing, etc.

We called the good professor and asked him if this was an accurate rendition of his work. Of course he said no, and insisted that his intent was to depict two priests—one of them admittedly a “fallen priest”—still struggling to do good and overcome temptation.

It is our position that intent doesn’t empty the issue: what matters is whether a reasonable practicing Catholic might be rightly be offended. Since few who offend will own up, our job is to made determinations based on effect.

When we asked for a copy of the script, we hit a brick wall. “No,” said the English professor, that might “violate my civil rights.” He did not explain how this would be possible and simply invited us to see the play.

As we said, we can’t keep up with everything, so we never did make it to the play (there were only four performances anyway). But given his touchy reaction when asked to see the script, you decide whether he had something to hide.

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