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Church demands ban on play

Agnes of God

Mumbai :  Catholic Church in India has demanded ban on the play ‘Agnes of God’, an adaptation of American playwright  John Pielmeier’s drama about a nun giving birth to a dead child, alleging it is a “wrongful portrayal” of priests and nuns committed to a life of celibacy and hurts the sentiments of the Christians.

According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the play  “is the wrongful portrayal of the character of lakhs of clergy, who are committed to a life of celibacy”.

“We have written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and also other Chief Ministers to ban the play as it hurts religious sentiments,” Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) general secretary Joseph Dias told PTI here today.

He, however, said the CSF has no plan to obstruct the upcoming performance of the play in Mumbai.

“There is no question of halting that performance as it is to be staged before an invited audience at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA, though it was originally planned at Sophia hall,” Dias said.

“The play has been made by a group whose earlier work was ‘Vagina Monologues’. They are not Christians and they did not involve or consult the Church. The play questions the sacrifice of nuns. Now, they will sell the tickets for hundreds of rupees,” Dias said.

The CBCI, the body of Catholic bishops in the country, has written to Union Home Ministry seeking a countrywide ban on the play holding that it was “misrepresentation of the religious belief of the Christian community”.

“The reason why the Catholic Church is against such a play is that it is the wrongful portrayal of the character of lakhs of our clergy, who are committed to a life of celibacy,” the CBCI letter said.

Director of the play, Kaizaad Kotwal, has approached police to pursue his plea seeking protection for himself and the lead cast including thespian actor Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal.

The play is an adaptation of a 1982 Broadway production by Pielmeier, reportedly based on a true incident in the US, narrating the story of a novice nun who gives birth and insists that the child was the result of a virgin conception.

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