|Ms. O’Connor in Pope Girl attire|
As I noted in my earlier post, Ms. O’Connor and Mr. Godshaw only got into trouble because the Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, learned about the nude costuming in the CMU event and complained about it. According to the Post-Gazette story about Zubik’s complaint, the bishop was only concerned about Ms. O’Connor, whose costume, the bishop said, was “offensive to me and the church that I represent.”
Essentially, Bishop Zubik bullied the CMU administration into bringing criminal charges against two student not really because of their nudity, but because one of them offended a prince of the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that apparently carries a lot of clout in Pittsburgh.
I have no idea what Mr. Godshaw was trying to say with his performance, but Ms. O’Connor was calling attention to the appalling prevalence of child rape by Roman Catholic clergy, something that Pope Benedict XVI was less that diligent in rooting out. Bishop Zubik, in true Roman Catholic fashion, holds his church in higher regard than Jesus, the Bible, or ordinary human beings. Surely the rape of a few hundred (or a few thousand) children is nothing compared to a 19-year-old girl’s suggesting that the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, is anything less than a perfect steward of Christ’s church.
I’m not sure that Katherine O’Connor’s costume was brilliant, but, as a piece of political theater, it clearly succeeded. She is certainly the heroine of this story. Bishop Zubik, on the other hand, is, as I said, a bully, and someone who completely misunderstands (or has disdain for) the First Amendment. He is the prime villain of this sordid tale. And CMU president Jared Cohon is a pathetic coward who allowed himself to be bullied by the Catholic bishop and was willing to throw two of his own students under the bus to avoid taking a stand in favor of free speech.
Update, 6/11/2013: The Post-Gazette story referred to above has been updated and expanded, making it rather more helpful than was the original version.