"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is King Henry VIII Spinning In His Grave?

Presenting The Vagina Monologues - in church

By Angela Scappatura, Standard Staff

Posted 5 days ago
What: The Vagina Monologues, presented by clergy from the Anglican Diocese of Niagara
When: Feb. 14, 7 p.m.
Where: St. George’s Anglican Church, 83 Church St., St. Catharines
Tickets: $20/person. For tickets, phone 905-682-9232 or 905-684-1660, ext. 1

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Reverend Pamela Guyatt calls it the Virgin Mary complex.

The idea that women should sensor their words and temper discussions about female sexual issues. Especially if they’re in a church.

So Guyatt, along with six other female clergy members from the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, plan to address the issue — four letter words and all — from the most holiest of places. The altar.

They’re staging a production of the Vagina Monologues at St. George’s Anglican Church on Feb. 14. All proceeds from the event will go to Bethlehem Housing and Support Services and the Sexual Assault Hotline.

“The language in the play, 90% of us women have said it or thought it,” she said, while sitting in a pew inside St. George’s. Three of the other priests performing sat nearby. “It’s about being what we are and being it in a church.”

The production features a series of monologues recited by different women. Each scene tells a story related to the vagina — some comical, others dealing with heavier issues.

The content isn’t quite what one would expect priests to discuss in such a public, and explicit, way but these women think it’s important to break those barriers.

“If the church isn’t aware of these stories, there’s something wrong with us,” said Rev. Valerie Kerr, the rector of St. George’s in St. Catharines. “It’s about social justice.”

Guyatt was introduced to the show nine years ago when she was at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. A group of students were staging the show and she wanted to do it in the church. But the idea was rejected.

Several years later, after moving to St. Catharines, she thought a presentation of the play would be a great way to raise money for Bethlehem Housing and Support Services.

She suggested it to Kerr, then to the other priests in the region.

“They said, ‘great!’” Guyatt looked at the four other women, then laughed. “They all said yes before seeing the script. I sent it to them in October, then left for a week.”

“We all did a double take,” added Rev. Dorothy Hewlitt, the bespectacled rector from St. George’s, Homer Christ Church in McNab.

All four women, dressed in black with red pashmina scarves wrapped around their shoulders, broke into a chorus of laughter. It reverberated off the vaulted ceilings of St. George’s.

The women have already performed the show once for an audience.

“We were still cracking up,” said Lynne Marchant, archdeacon of Brock, rector of St John the Evangelist in Niagara Falls.
While the content might cause some to shift uncomfortably, others are impressed by the effort.

A self-described extrovert, Marchant had no problem saying one of the monologues that deals with reclaiming a four letter c-word, she said.

Her daughter attended the first show and “was supportive.”

“But she said, ‘mom do you realize you just said the c--- word in front of a room of 300 people?’” Marchant laughed. “It’s just a word.”

Working on the production, taking on words and stories that are taboo, has been a positive experience, she said.

“Women are all these things — we’re hilarious, full of joy, laughter. We’re strong and vulnerable,” said Marchant. “And for us as a group, we’ve had so much fun together.”

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