Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Police Question Area Priest About Inappropriate St. Patrick's Day Play

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- San Narciso County ushered in St. Patrick's Day 2012 with yet another controversy, prompting Mayor Manny DiPresso to add this holiday to a growing list of celebrations that council members may soon move to abolish. Last year, the festivities were overshadowed by an inflammatory speech given by a theology student, in which St. Patrick was accused of being a church assassin sent to destroy the polytheistic culture of Ireland. Tensions further escalated when the Catholic Church announced that gays would be prohibited from marching in the parade. At that time, Father Preternature -- who presides over the county's only Catholic congregation, defended his decision, saying, “First off, [homosexuals] already have their own parade. Second, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, not an ideological movement." The mayor's office was outraged at Preternature for implying that gays had infiltrated the community. On Saturday, Preternature again found himself cross with the law when parents summoned Child Protective Services to a children's play he produced called "St. Patrick Beats the Naughty Snakes from Ireland's Trousers."

According to witnesses, the overly long and poorly orchestrated musical was meant to glamorize the persistent myth that St. Patrick banished the snakes from the Emerald Isle. Some parents objected to the play because, they claimed, it discounted the actual accomplishments of St. Patrick in favor of perpetuating a historical inaccuracy; evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes. Preternature responded by condemning those parents as heretics and threatened them with excommunication for insinuating that the world was old enough to have witnessed an Ice Age.

Still, even the priest's most devout supporters said they felt uneasy and spiritually conflicted as "St. Patrick Beats the Naughty Snakes from Ireland's Trousers" unfolded before them.

In the play, several children -- all boys -- were lined up on stage, dressed in green jumpers and leprechaun hats. Each wore a placard that depicted a crudely drawn piece of a map of Ireland, likely done in crayon. These were attached to the front of the boys' costumes, below the waist. Preternature later explained that this was to ensure visibility. On each section of the map, a plastic snake was glued.

As the boys sang a collection of U2 songs that included "All I Want is You," "Babyface," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Stories For Boys," "Sweetest Thing" and "Sixty Seconds in Kingdom Come," Preternature bounded onto the stage, attired as St. Patrick, and began vigorously beating the snakes on the boys' placards. Stunned parents said this activity went on for nearly 30 minutes, continuing long after the children had run out of songs.

"All you could hear in the church was the sound of an old man heaving and panting over the tiny sobs of our kids," one father told reporters. "After it was over, a terrible rain storm hit. I'd like to think it was Jesus crying for allowing this happen."

Preternature arrived at police headquarters Tuesday to submit to formal questioning. He had an attorney with him. Authorities have yet to release a statement with more details on the case.

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.