The Bishop of Pittsburgh is calling on Carnegie Mellon University to take action against a half-naked female student dressed as the Pope who marched in a parade and ridiculed Catholics.
The incident happened on April 18 during a public parade organized by the university’s art department. A university official did not dispute reports that the woman had her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross.
University spokesman Ken Walters confirmed that the half-naked woman is a student. He declined to say if she was facing any sort of punishment.
“We are continuing our review of the incident,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “If our community standards or laws were violated, we will take appropriate action.”
But many local Catholics said an investigation is not needed to determine what they say is obvious – the demonstration was over the top.
“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 told television station KDKA.
Students contacted by the station didn’t see the problem.
“It’s all in good fun and it’s not meant to harm anyone,” student Ivy Kristov said.
“The beauty about living in America is freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and I think that falls under that category,” said Kyri Baker, another student.
“If you’re going to argue from that perspective, that this is freedom of speech, God help us all,” the bishop said, arguing there are larger issues at play. “What I do want to have happen is that this person can learn an important lesson that prejudice, bigotry, there’s no place for it.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, wondered why the student has yet to be punished.
“If CMU tolerates this incident, invoking no sanctions whatsoever, then it is opening a door it may regret,” he said. “What if instead of shaved pubic hair in the shape of a cross, a student chooses to depict a swastika?”
With reporting from the Associated Press.