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January 3, 2003


The Mummers' Parade, which is a long standing tradition in the City of Philadelphia, has been a source of pride for those who live in and around the City of Brotherly Love. It has been an important part of the social and cultural fabric of this region. However, according to an article in the December 31, 2002 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, this proud tradition and source of pride will be sullied by the irresponsible actions of the Slick Duck Comic Brigade. This group plans to do an insensitive and tasteless skit which can only be extremely painful for any victim who has experienced any type of abuse. I am horrified that any person or group can be so callous.

At the same time, I express outrage over the demeaning caricature of our Holy Father, bishops, priests and religious women. While such mean-spirited mockery may be protected as free speech, it is still hateful speech and as such has no place in a city parade. It is actually an attack on the Catholic Faith and Church, clergy and laity alike. This performance, if it is to proceed, insults all the faithful clergy, religious and laity who live their lives serving God as well as their sisters and brothers.

The Archdiocese has been in contact with City officials regarding this matter. I invite all Catholics as well as people of good will to express their displeasure regarding such inappropriate behavior in a publicly sponsored forum by contacting city officials. May all of us prayerfully reflect on our responsibility to ensure that our public traditions remain sources of personal respect, civic unity and communal harmony.


Editor's Note: Contact information for Philadelphia Department of Recreation: telephone: 215-683-3600, fax: 215-683-3593 or mail to 1515 Arch Street, 10th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa 19102-1587.

Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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