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Operators of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland, thought they had been blessed with a huge donation when a worker found $40,000 worth of rare coins on the grounds. But Shrine Director William Tronolone told the Associated Press (Nov. 18) that the owner of the coins returned to retrieve them about a week later. Tronolone says the woman told him she wanted the Blessed Virgin Mary to watch over her treasure while she was out of town.
At their annual fall meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the results of its $1.8 million study into the roots of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal. Researchers at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported that the scandal cannot be attributed to homosexual priests. “We do not have data to support that,” said Karen Terry, lead researcher for the study. She explained that, even though nearly 90 percent of the victims were teenage boys, the abusers were not necessarily homosexual, but were merely “confused about their sexuality and had poor social skills.” She believes that the priests abused boys mainly because they had access to boys. “Even though there was sexual abuse of many boys, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person had a homosexual identity” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 18).
A play depicting Jesus as a gay man played to an appreciative audience in a packed church sanctuary in Santa Ana, California. Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi, which sparked protests and bomb threats at its 1998 opening at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, depicts Jesus as a gay man living in 1950s Corpus Christi, Texas. The cast of 13 portrays Jesus and all twelve Apostles as homosexual. Pastor Michael Holland of the Church of the Foothills told the Orange County Register (Nov. 14) that he’s doing it for the kids. He explained that he received an e-mail from a local couple with a gay son who thanked the church for hosting the show. “That’s why we’re doing this,” Holland said, “for all those families out there who don’t feel accepted.” When asked what he thought about those who protested the play, Holland said they were misinformed: “Jesus was about love and inclusion and affirming people as children of God, and that’s what we’re doing tonight.”
When a “gay Jesus” just isn’t enough, playgoers can travel to Scotland to experience the drama of a “transsexual Jesus.” The publicly funded play Queen of Heaven was staged in the Tron Theatre as part of the “Glasgay!” arts festival, which describes itself as “Scotland’s annual celebration of queer culture,” reports the BBC (Nov. 9). Festival producer Steven Thomson described the play as a “literary work of fiction exploring the artist’s own personal journey of faith as a transgendered person.” Jo Clifford, the 59-year-old formerly known as John Clifford, who authored and stars in the one-man Jesus show, told the London Times (Nov. 9) that most of the protest surrounding his production is due to “a complete misunderstanding of what I am and what I am trying to do.” Clifford insists that he showed his script to priests, who said it “corresponds to what the Bible says.”
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