U.S. Notes & Quotes
Pilgrimage of Reparation Draws Youth
NATIONAL COALITION OF CLERGY AND LAITY, Oct. 11—The fourth annual “Pilgrimage for Restoration” drew about 1,000 Catholics from across the United States and Canada to the Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, central New York State, From Wednesday, Sept. 7-11, a statement issued by the Coalition reported.
Nearly 500 pilgrims walked seven miles from the Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda, N.Y., along the banks of the Mohawk River to Auriesville on the final day on Sept. 11. They were joined by pilgrims who had been on a 68-mile pilgrimage from the shores of the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament (Lake George) since the previous Wednesday. Sixty people participated in the longer pilgrimage, the second annual, to commemorate the 353rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Isaac Jogues, apostle to the Hurons.
According to organizers, about half of the pilgrims who participated all four days were under 25 years of age. “The general intention of the annual event is the advancement of a genuine Catholic Restoration. The theme of this year's pilgrimage — conducted in the year of God the Father — was Restoration of true devotion to Mary: Daughter of God the Father,” a statement issued by the Coalition said.
The Only Acceptable Bigotry
“Dogma, the religious satire by writer-director Kevin Smith scheduled to open next month, has inspired a predictable wave of protest from defenders of the faith. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, already has published newspaper advertisements condemning the film's newspaper advertisements condemning the film's ‘Catholic bashing'under the not unreasonable suspicion that comedy featuring George Carlin as a cardinal and Alanis Morissette as God will never share a double bill with The Bells of St. Mary's,” Doherty wrote, adding, “Yet whether the sins committed by Dogma turn out to be moral or merely venial, the battle between Smith and Donohue highlights the once happy, now hostile relationship between Catholicism and Hollywood. Not so long ago, the church and the studio system enjoyed a warmly symbiotic association.
Doherty went on to note the difference between the Hollywood of yesterday and the Hollywood of today, where clerics are treated as foolish at best or perverse at worst. “Today, for at least some filmmakers, Catholicism is less a religion that a ready-made sound stage for horror-films and conspiracy thrillers, a creepy cult devoted to blood-soaked rituals, child sexual abuse and the greatest perversion of all in contemporary American culture, celibacy. A clerical collar, once the sign of protection and reassurance, is now more likely the mark of the scoundrel.
“It is difficult to imagine another religion whose iconography, rituals and priesthood could be so casually demonized on screen. If Hollywood routinely portrayed African American Ministers as lustful con artists or Orthodox rabbis as sordid agents of Israel, editorial pages across the nation would launch cruise missiles at the offenders,” Doherty said.
- October 24-30, 1999