UMD play upsets Catholics

by Molly Novak

A play scheduled for next week by the University of Minnesota Duluth has Catholics objecting because of its criticism of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.

The play, "The Deputy", a 1963 script, is part of the school's annual Baeumler Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration, reported the Duluth News Tribune. It criticizes the pope for not doing enough for Jews in the face of the Holocaust.

A Duluth priest, Fr. Richard Kunst, spoke with UMD Chancellor Lendley Black about cancelling the play. Other local Catholics have also contacted the school with their objections, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Black said they play will be performed as scheduled.

The year's theme for the commemoration is "Religious Institutions' Response to the Holocaust," and has discussions of multiple religious groups' response to save the Jews during that time.

The play itself isn't causing a lot of the upset, though. According to the Duluth News Tribune, the postcard for the event shows a faceless pope standing with a Nazi soldier on top of a Holocaust victim on one half. On the other half is Pope Pius XII above a concentration camp crematorioum

Kunst said the allegations in the play have been proven wrong and the play and postcard are "nothing more than hate speech."

This year's chairwoman of the Baeumler Kaplan Committee, Deborah Petersen-Periman, said they are only intending to raise awareness. She knows the event will be provocative but anyone is welcome to join the discussion following the play.

The commemoration runs Thursday through April 19 at UMD. "The Deputy, Acy IV" is set for Sunday.