Woman Strips and Mocks Pope on Pittsburgh Campus

The prestigious Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh is under fire today for taking no action against a student who dressed as the pope and stripped from the waist down to display her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, the woman appeared at an annual art school parade and was handing out condoms as she walked.  The Diocese of Pittsburgh is calling the incident inappropriate and disrespectful and is demanding that some action be taken against the student.

“I think we all know that when we’re growing up we do stupid things but to cross over the line in this instance shouldn’t happen with anybody,” Bishop David Zubik said.

Instead of responding appropriately to a student who offended the Catholic Church while violating local ordinances against public nudity, CMU issued a statement, saying “We are continuing our review of the incident. If our community standards or laws were violated, we will take appropriate action.”

While some are calling this bizarre episode a matter of “freedom of expression,” this is hardly a good enough excuse for Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“CMU did not have to ponder what to do about a recent incident involving one of its fraternities: it simply suspended the students, as well as the entire Beta Theta Pi fraternity, for taking sexual pictures and videos inside the frat house and then emailing them to other members; an investigation is pending. But when it comes to a female student who walks the streets naked from the waist down while mocking the pope, the administrators are much more relaxed: she has not been suspended during a probe of this matter,” Donohue writes.

“If CMU tolerates this incident, invoking no sanctions whatsoever, then it is opening a door it may regret. What if instead of shaved pubic hair in the shape of a cross, a student chooses to depict a swastika?”

He concludes: “CMU’s decision not to suspend this female student, who publicly ridiculed Catholics and violated the local ordinance on public nudity, while invoking sanctions against the frat boys for offensive behavior behind closed doors, is legally problematic and morally indefensible.”

The Catholic League is asking the public to contact Gina Casalegno, dean of students at CMU to voice their concern about the handling of this matter. ginac@andrew.cmu.edu

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