09 February 2008

Magdalene

Tonight the blasphemous, sacrilegious play Magdalene was performed at United Church of Gainesville. For those of you who are unaware of the situation, you may read the article in the Gainesville Sun here. The play was to be put on at my parish of St. Augustine's at the University of Florida. After finding out how completely blasphemous it was (it calls into question the Eucharist and the male priesthood) I approached Father Gillespie with my concerns. He told me that it was "just a play" and that I had no need to worry about scandal or blasphemy. Not happy with this response, I wrote to Bishop Galeone. He agreed that it would be scandalous and canceled the play, and prohibited its showing in any other Catholic church.

Now if it had all ended there.... everything would be fine. Instead of canceling the play, St. Augustine's relocated the play. Director of Faith Formation Tom Rinkoski (the man responsible for bringing the play to the parish in the first place) decided to call around and see if any Protestant churches would pick up the performance. UC Gainesville happily obliged. This church is a super-relativist inclusive group, subscribing to many heresies. A sermon from their web page suggests that perhaps Mary Magdalene did marry Jesus.

The story, however, gets worse. On the front desk in the parish office, I saw a sign that read "The Magdalene event has been relocated to United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW 5th Avenue. Tickets will be on sale at the door." This sign was sitting right in front of the phone. Apparently, Rinkoski and the staff wanted to make sure that anyone who called about the play would be able to get to it. I find this very disturbing, since the bishop agreed that the play calls into question Church teaching on two sacraments.

Something needs to be said, and I am not afraid to say it. Tom Rinkoski is not fit to be the Director of Faith Formation. I fear for the children who go through the programs for First Holy Communion and for Confirmation. Hopefully their parents, who the Church calls the primary educators of children, are able to instill in them the true Faith. Mr. Rinkoski disobeyed the spirit of the bishop's instruction that the play be canceled. He then placed himself in a prominent role, welcoming all who came to the play at the Protestant church. Also, I am ashamed that an overwhelming majority of the staff of St. Augustine's came to see this mockery. They need to know that they materially cooperated in a grave evil. I would suggest the Sacrament of Confession to them.

O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who hast said: "If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you," we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Chris R. said...

The actual content of the play does not bother me at all. I do, however, find it rather rude and self-righteous of the play organizers to try to perform it in a Catholic church. As for the tickets, I have difficulty taking a side. On one hand, yes, it's still heretical (to a Catholic, which isn't the side I represent, mind you) for the play organizers to sell tickets at the Catholic church. At the same time, I feel people who want to see the play should be able to see it, and changing the ticket location without at least leaving a notification would confuse some people. I understand the second argument probably does not mean much from the Catholic standpoint, but I think it's still worth mentioning for all the non-Catholics.

P.S. Fantastic blog, Jon! (Yeah, I'm the one brave enough to comment!)

February 10, 2008 12:15 AM  
Blogger Macrina Nyssa said...

It is clear that you, Jonathan, never did see the play. Imagine deciding without being there what the content was. Some of the words in your handout were either not said at all or signified something entirely innocent in the context. Anyone who was really listening could not possibly hear anything heretical or blasphemous or lustful.
It is also sad that you do not have enough background to realize that many canonized saints, both men and women, wrote of Jesus as the Bridegroom of their souls. The play was simply a performance in which Mary Magdalene is portrayed as dying and proclaiming her experience of the goodness of the Lord Jesus and all His wonderful gifts to humankind.

February 10, 2008 6:13 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

I have a copy of the script, which I bought direct from the publisher. Heresy in context is still heresy.

And yes, I do have enough background and am fully aware that the idea of Christ as the bridegroom / the Church as His bride is very common and completely orthodox. Many nuns even wear a ring to symbolize this. However, it is a spiritual union. The script has Magdalene saying that she yearned for Jesus "in flesh and spirit".

February 10, 2008 11:13 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 10, 2008 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a little late coming to this blog and post, but heard of the recent controversy...my question is, why did you never contact Rinkoski with your concerns? Why go to the priest and the bishop first?

I ask because community is one of the things I love most about my church (which doesn't happen to be St. Augustine's), and I would be surprised if a member of my community, regardless of doctrine or blasphemy issues, made a move like you describe, rather than starting a dialogue.

I know I will always have things to learn about my faith. And the lessons can come from any direction...what did this teach you about your new faith?

February 27, 2008 10:41 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

I would have contacted Mr. Rinkoski first, had I any clue that he had brought the play to St. Augustine's. Not in any of the bulletins or advertisements of Magdalene was his name mentioned. Was I to assume that the Director of Faith Formation brought it here? Had I known, I would have brought it to his attention and worked up the chain.

February 28, 2008 12:28 PM  

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