Matt C. Abbott
August 9, 2010
Readers sound off on 'Late Nite Catechism,' Islam, pro-life witness
By Matt C. Abbott

The following is a selection of (edited) e-mails I've received in recent days. Please note that I do not necessarily agree with every single point of every single e-mail I choose to print.

"John Doe":


    Bill Donohue is dead wrong about Late Nite Catechism. I saw it with my wife about ten years ago, we enjoyed it thoroughly, and I would go so far as to say that the abbreviated catechism given by 'Sister' in our performance was better than the watered-down catechism that my oldest daughter got at [school name redacted]. Full disclosure: Not only did I win the plastic rosary for being the only one in the audience to correctly explain the Immaculate Conception, but after the performance, 'Sister' said 'You're my favorite! You love the Church as much as I do!'

    Let me state categorically that there was no misrepresentation of Church doctrine in the play. Doctrines were always presented correctly, yet usually in a way that made them seem ridiculous, and this is a legitimate comedic gambit. Often doctrines were presented in a way that was ironic, but again, this is the stock in trade of comedy. The whole schtick was to play up the disagreements that a typical secular Yuppie would have with Church teaching. Of course, if you weren't secular, the joke was just as funny because you have had to defend that point again and again to secular types. Though the play was irreverent, it was never disrespectful.

    Nostalgia played a big part in the presentation. The authors obviously were believing Catholics back before the changes brought on by Vatican II and they seem to pine for the moral certainties of that pre-conciliar Church fondly. The reminiscing is much in the same vein as 'Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up,' which I also enjoyed very much.

    There is no hidden agenda to this play. Though the humor derives from the contrast between the liberal bias of the authors and the conservatism of Church doctrine, the character of 'Sister' is presented sincerely and believably. This play is not a piece of agitprop and actually seems to please everyone. Liberals feel they are in on the joke and better than the mopes who believe this stuff, while believers are free to take 'Sister's' side, shake their heads, and chuckle at the fatuousness of the audience reactions.

    And so what if a Late Nite contingent marched in the gay pride parade? You advertise where the customers are, right? And which group of 'recovering Catholics' are more disaffected than gay ex-Catholics? Commonwealth Edison has had floats in the last two gay pride parades; are you going to shut off your electricity and go back to whale oil lamps? The parade stopped being a big deal in about 1981, when people realized that Reagan wasn't going to do anything about gays, abortion, or pornography and that the social revolution of the 1960s was here to stay.

    The simple fact is that Bill Donohue is a man who makes his money by having enemies. By keeping the Catholic community forever on the defensive about real (and imagined) slights, prejudices, and abominations, he keeps himself in business. Now, while I recognize the need for his organization, and I certainly admit that there is a lot of anti-Catholic bias out there, in this case I am going to say he walked in with a chip on his shoulder. Bill Donohue is a good guy to have in your corner, but a bad guy to take advice from.

    Matt, you need to do more homework on these posts. There are plenty of Late Nite clips on YouTube and I watched several of them tonight. Not one of them was disrespectful, blasphemous, or anything but the gentle humor I remembered seeing when I saw the play. You're a single guy and I'm sure you're dating around. Take my advice: Late Nite Catechism would be a terrific date. You should see it; I had a blast.

Arlene Sawicki:

    I saw Late Nite Catechism more recently than 10 years ago. Let's remember what the national debt was back then. In 10 years the 'sisters' have added their own version of the Catechism with comedic innuendo on subjects such as women's ordination, married priests, safe sex, etc., usually at the give and take portion of the show, which is never recorded on YouTube.

    Father John Corapi often reminds us in his sermons how tragic it is that some Catholics have become so secularly 'neutralized' that they are hardly able to discern right from wrong. In this case, the commentator accommodates the fact that the play is a 'legitimate' comedy, therefore, if doctrines are made to 'seem ridiculous' and the lines 'irreverent,' this is only because the authors 'pine for the moral certainties of the pre-conciliar Church.' Oh really?

    The Late Nite actresses have been marching for 17 years in the Chicago gay pride parade because they 'advertise where the customers are, right?' Wrong! If 'Mother Superior' is out to save these disoriented souls, she should join the groups of evangelical missionaries who bravely gather on the sidelines of the parade to witness to gays, urging them to leave this unhealthy and destructive lifestyle, repent and be saved. Instead, they offer a float carrying a phony nun with either young boys or the Girl Scouts. I'm not finding the comic nuances here very funny.

    For years the parades had become more raunchy and lewd, breaking every Chicago public morals law, until a group of Christian citizens challenged Cook County police officials to strictly enforce existing laws. They've cleaned up their act somewhat. The parade theme is still that gay is OK; it's normal; it's even 'special.' That's not where the Late Nite 'sisters' or any follower of Jesus should be.

    Please resource the Americans for Truth website and understand the dangerous moral, political and social agenda of these 'special' people.

Beverly A. Coscarelli:

    Do not miss reading the Claire Berlinski article on National Review Online and in the August 16 print edition. She reflects on the meaning of the burqa as a religious and political statement saying much about the view of the woman herself a view that's counter to everything Christ taught.

    As a Roman Catholic woman, I find the ignorance of so many Catholics on Islamic Sharia, jihad, veiling, etc. to be disheartening and infuriating. The French bishops are a glaring example of this blind tolerance of that most intolerant ideology of 'submission.' It's cultural suicide, pure and simple. Abandon the Catholic cult upon which your Western society was founded and we can, I suppose, expect nothing but the demise of all freedoms.

    Jesus, who shocked His contemporaries in His interactions with women will have choice words and judgment for those Catholic men, clergy or laity, who think submitting to a false prophet and a false god equals Christian charity and it is women who will be fed to the crocodile first.

    Please get the word out to your readers. Too many priests and laymen still refer with admiration to the veil, hijab, chador and burqa as 'modesty' when in reality it is the immolation of the very personhood of woman.

Linda O'Brien:

    'Get a life!' An angry shout from a passing care reached our ears. And again, a little later, came the same cry from another car: 'Get a life!' Irony of ironies. For this is exactly what we hope to do: Get a life (saved).

    Now 'Get a life!' is certainly not the worst thing that someone hears as they pray in front of a Planned Parenthood or abortion mill. Much worse remarks are flung at us. Yet I am struck by this irony. Can it be that they do not realize that these places deal in death? Some have said we are 'blocking freedom.' Freedom to do what? Is freedom the same as liberty? Can we have liberty without life? Isn't life the first right of an American? Isn't there a difference between freedom and license? Does anyone know this?

    'It's not your body,' is hollered at us. No, it's not. Nor is it the body of the woman being sacrificed on the altar of abortion. It's not her body either. 'Reproductive health' is the innocuous term used to cover up the abomination of abortion. Some even claim a religious veil on this intrinsic evil with some clergy and others promoting the decimation of peoples. Or there are the countless others who remain silent or 'neutral' in the face of the greatest evil of our age. They might say, 'I'm personally opposed, but...' They look the other way while millions of unborn children die.

    Get a life! Yes, I have a life. But the child dismembered in the abortion clinic will not get a life. The mother will go on doing whatever she is doing, but the little soul is returned to God before drawing breath. And the mother's soul dies. Get a life! The Life of God in the souls of those who promote, provide and procure abortion dies. For them we pray that reconciliation and repentance be found.

    Get a life! God is the Author of Life. It is the devil who deals in death. Demonic is the institution that deals death. The devil, that 'liar and the father of lies...a murderer from the beginning' as Jesus states in the 8th chapter of the Gospel of St. John, is the one behind 'reproductive choice.' Ultimately it must be realized that 'we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness' (Eph 6:12). This is a spiritual battle. We must call on our spiritual weapons to fight it. This combat is one done on our knees. The legal system will not bring about the changes needed in hearts and souls. We beg The Author of Life for the graces needed to touch hearts and souls to embrace life to 'get a life.'

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He has been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR and WLS-TV in Chicago, and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback from readers. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me... (more)

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