Testament of Mary Provides Insight into Left’s Arrogant Logic
by GABRIEL GARNICA, ESQ.
April 1, 2013
We are all aware of the secular Left's penchant for bashing Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, both in society and in art, where they often hide behind the thin veil of artistic expression, academic freedom, and serious examination, all "supported" by pathetic justifications which only a fool would buy. Thus, we are told that a crucifix dipped in urine is an expression of love for Christ; a piece of trash depicting the Virgin Mary in dung is natural and beautiful; a Democratic party official/professor demanding that his students stomp on the name of Jesus is a valid academic exercise; and a Saturday Night Live skit depicting Jesus as a vengeful maniac is "stunning, in the best way possible" and "hilarious".
Deandre Poole, the professor mentioned above, is a local Democratic official and an African-American who I will venture to say would be unlikely to order that students stomp on the name Martin Luther King or Muhammed. Although the university has apologized, the sheer audacity and arrogance of this situation speaks to the Left's hypocritical double standard in defending some religions and groups while winking and laughing when Christianity is mocked or disrespected. Clearly, then, the hypocrisy is cowardly in its selective application against targets the Left gleefully bashes, questions, disrespects, and ridicules. When NBC's The New Normal mocks a Catholic sacrament and infers that the Virgin Mary slept with the Three Wise Men, we are given a direct example of the Left's arrogance in seeking to brazenly reshape the public's perception of Christianity as an easy piñata for the very same hypocrites who would split asunder if a show mocked Islam or homosexuality. Things the Left would not dare say about Hillary or Michelle are entertaining fodder when thrown at the Mother of God.
It is into this backdrop that we are told that Broadway's "love affair with religion" continues with the opening of The Testament of Mary to previews. If this is the Left's version of love, then count me out. Briefly stated, this play depicts Mary as a vindictive, resentful, feminist hag who denies her Son's Divinity two decades after His death, cannot even speak His Name, cowardly abandons Him in His hour of need to save her own skin, and is supported and fed by His followers, whom she decribes as "misfits". We are told that Mary refuses to help the followers concoct the fables surrounding Jesus designed to spread His cult and, in fact, has turned to pagan worship. According to The Testament of Mary then, Christianity is a lie and Mary its feminist, heroine victim finally allowed to tell the "truth". Never mind that the "misfits" too busy inventing this cult would all mostly pay with their lives as martyrs for this fable they were creating. Indirectly, this play argues that the scores of Catholic martyrs from Christ to Thomas More to Edith Stein were fools dying for a lie.
Regardless of the creators' claims, common sense dictates that if someone called your mother a vindictive, resentful, angry, self-absorbed coward under the guise of exploring her personality and motives, you might just be a tad offended. Mary is our Heavenly Mother, and we are more than offended. Any rational, normal person would be.
The threesome responsible for bringing this fable to Broadway, author Colm Toibin, director Deborah Warner, and actress Fiona Shaw, are all former Christians who are now fascinated by exploring what the Virgin Mary would say if She had the chance. Toibin and Shaw, both former Catholics, describe childhoods saturated with a silent, much revered Virgin whom Shaw describes as having no personality or ever saying anything remotely interesting. Although both speak of having memorized prayers to Mary which they can quickly rattle off, Shaw in particular reveals just how superficial and inaccurate their "insight" truly is when she obliviously marvels that the Virgin Mary "only says about two things in all the New Testament" completely ignoring Mary's iconic Magnificat ( Luke 1:46-55) which is the longest direct quote from any woman in the New Testament and is even praised by otherwise controversial, liberal Bible scholars as a transcendental part of the New Testament. Not bad for a silent Virgin with no personality muted by misfits. I suppose our threesome would argue that the voice in this beautiful prayer was probably not Mary's, which would be a predictable claim given their message that whatever little is attributed to Mary is not her true voice anyway.
In interviews, Toibin argues that he is not out to mock or disrespect anyone, yet does add that his only concern is what happens inside the theatre and not outside. Toibin, Wagner, and Shaw all describe their effort as an attempt to grapple, to understand, the conflicts and feelings of a historical woman. Toibin and Shaw's childhood experiences with the Rosary, Lourdes, and devotion to Mary are supposed to qualify them to speak now and push away the notion that they are out to destroy the Catholic Church.
Therein lies the problem with The Testament of Mary. Both the play and its creators exhibit the Left's typical disregard for the sensibilities and feelings of traditional Catholics, justifying their effort as merely an exercise of creative, artistic expression whose main purpose is not to offend, mock, or discredit anyone but, rather, to trigger dialogue, insight, and different perspectives. Their work is not offensive because they do not think it is. Their intent should not be questioned because they have already given it. They are qualified to dabble in centuries of belief because of childhood Rosaries and devotional prayers furthered by the progressive, mature, rational, and open-minded insight gleamed from knowing what the Catholic Church should or should not be doing, allowing, believing, or proclaiming. In their world, the child who breaks the window with a rock can justify his damage by claiming that he was merely trying out a new way to clean windows.
The creators of this play tell us that their only aim is to entertain their public, to explore new possibilities for eliciting a reaction from them. In effect, they are merely feeding the public what it wants while fanning the flames of judgment upon the integrity, veracity and, ultimately, the relevance of a faith that this public and this world, lead by its leadership and media, have long decided is only good for patronizing, mocking entertainment and sport, be it in a theater or a coliseum long ago.
Critics and even the creators themselves cite the flicker of protest as a sign that they are doing no harm. Apparently even William Donohue of the Catholic League is cited as not having a problem with this play in comparison to other plays in the past he deems far worse. I do not agree with Mr. Donohue on this one for all the reasons cited here. As far as having a mere "flicker" of protest, that is more an indictment on the fact that, as I have written elsewhere, half of Catholics in this country think Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are their pay grade, which is both pathetic and tragic. Simply put, between the diluted, buffet Catholicism so rampant in this country and the increasingly twisted Catholic education especially at the college level, many if not most Catholics think an indulgence is having wine and cheese after dinner rather than an eternal benefit. Besides, if the Left can ignore or minimize thousands of protestors for causes they detest and make fifty protestors for causes they like seem like a multitude, they are the last ones to use crowd numbers as any measure of right and wrong.
The play's creators pretend that their subjective perceptions, biases, and agendas regarding the Catholic Church are not reflected in this play, that it is merely a probing exploration, a theory of what forces and thoughts stirred within the most revered Woman in Catholicism. They pretend that questioning the legitimacy, the veracity of teachings on which an Institution has based its foundation, its core belief system, for centuries, is not disrespecting that institution. They pretend that depicting their own twisted, subjective caricature of the Mother of God, clearly laced with their own secular and liberal biases and either denying or distorting Her Essence as believed by millions, can be brushed aside in the face of their whimsical exercise. To the liberal mind, most, if not all, religion is a superstitious exercise of idiots too naïve or trusting to question. To the liberal, thousands of years of belief and devotion is nothing but an annoying dung pile on the road to proving their point of demonstrating how much they have learned in their few decades on this planet. To the liberal, the smart, interesting people are inside the theatre fawning at their dabbles while the naïve fools are outside in the cold spewing rosaries beneath a statue.
In the end, The Testament of Mary merely reminds us that the secular Left's only concern, like Toibin's, is what happens inside the theatre of their own arrogant, subjective perception of reality rather than the harm they inflict on their favorite piñata, the Catholic Church, and the knaves who have not yet decided that Thomas Aquinas is so hundreds of years ago. I was one of those people praying in the cold outside the theatre when this play opened and, after seeing the laughing, joking, curious mix of young and old Biden/Pelosi Catholics, agnostics, atheists, and others, across the street beyond our barricade, the night did not seem so cold after all.
The Left loves to tell Catholics to keep their rosaries out of women's ovaries. Perhaps they should begin by trying to keep their blasphemies out of our rosaries.
Gabriel Garnica, J.D., M.S. Ed., is a college professor and licensed attorney whose regular commentary also appears on New MediaJournal.us, The Daley Times-Post, and Michnews. He holds a law degree from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from St. John’s University in New York.