Abortion Play Inspired by John Kerry Banned by Catholic Bishop Revived - Lutherans and Other Denominations Offer Their Sanctuaries for Play and Discussion

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A month into rehearsals, twenty-five Catholics at a Chicago parish received word that the play they were mounting had been banned by their bishop. On September 14, Bishop Francis J. Kane overruled the parishioners' pastor, Reverend William Kenneally, and asserted that "THE ANSWER" – a play about abortion, politics, and a public family’s travail in the grips of both – could not be performed anywhere in the Archdiocese of Chicago . . . But then pastors from other denominations learned of the banning and responded by offering their sanctuaries as host locations for the play and the common ground-building discussion slated to follow each performance. Now this "ripped from the headlines" drama will be performed as scheduled October 1 – 3, and offer its theatrical story as a creative way to analyze the painfully complex issue of abortion and its role in the selection of an American leader.

Father Bill and the St. Gertrude’s community have meant a great deal to us for many years. We’ll do anything we can to help.

(Chicago, September 17) "THE ANSWER" – a play about abortion, politics, and a family’s public travail in the grips of both – was scheduled to be produced at St. Gertrude's Catholic Church on October 1st. On Tuesday, September 14 – after a month of rehearsal – St. Gertrude’s pastor, Reverend William Kenneally, received word from Bishop Francis J. Kane that the play could not be performed or discussed in the church or anywhere on parish grounds. Jim Dwyer, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said, "It was decided that this was just not something that should be held in a church at a Catholic parish. It’s just not appropriate." The statements of these two men effectively prohibit "THE ANSWER" from being performed or discussed under the auspices of the Archdiocese.

After newspaper and television coverage broke news of the censure – Father Kenneally's phone began to ring. Ministers from other Christian denominations in far-flung boroughs of the city offered their churches as host for the play and the discussion slated to follow it. Pastor Bob Goldstein of Immanuel Lutheran Church nearby in Edgewater said, "Father Bill and the St. Gertrude’s community have meant a great deal to us for many years. We’ll do anything we can to help." Undaunted by the controversy stirred up by the Catholic bishop’s ban, Goldstein said, "I’ve spoken with our Council President, and our bishop. We’re all happy to have this play done here."

"THE ANSWER" will be performed October 1-3, Friday and Saturday 8PM, Sunday at 5PM at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 West Elmdale Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60660 – just two blocks from St. Gertrude. Written and directed by Delle Chatman screenwriter, author and theology student – "THE ANSWER" leans on a score of gospel, jazz, and sacred music performed by "Choral Thunder."

The play's controversial, two-tiered story-line is inspired by today's headlines: A Catholic Democrat watches his re-election campaign lead ooze away after a bishop denies him Communion for supporting pro-Choice legislation. Then, a month before the election, a reporter unearths an abortion the senator's daughter had while she was in college. The revelation costs him core voters and reveals a heart-rending crack in his family.

Amid numerous credits as a writer of film and television, Chatman wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay for "FREE OF EDEN," a film for Showtime starring Sidney Poitier. She's written two books, "The Death of a Parent" and "The Unteachable Ten." Chatman is currently a regular contributor to the WTTW series on Channel 11 entitled "30 Good Minutes" where she has presented reflections and sermons on many faith-centered issues.

Tickets to "THE ANSWER" are $10 for teenagers and adults. The play is not appropriate for small children. Voter registration will be offered at each performance. Reservations may be made by visiting the production’s website or by calling (773) 338-3718, where publicist Regina Sawyer may also be reached.

Contact: Regina Sawyer

Publicist/Faithstruck Incorporated

(773) 338-3718 phone and fax



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