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Pope spoof upsets Pittsburgh bishop

on May 01, 2013 10:30 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh has called on Carnegie Mellon University to take action against a female student who marched naked from the waist down and passed out condoms while dressed as the Pope during a parade organized by the school’s arts department.

University spokesman Ken Walters told The Associated Press on Tuesday that officials do not dispute Bishop David Zubik’s description of what happened, including that the woman had her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross.

Beyond confirming the April 18 incident, Walters reiterated a statement issued Monday: “We are continuing our review of the incident. If our community standards or laws were violated, we will take appropriate action.”

Zubik and his spokesman, the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, did not immediately return a request for comment from the AP.

The bishop told KDKA-TV, which first reported his complaint: “When we’re growing up we do stupid things, but to cross over the line in this instance shouldn’t happen with anybody.”

Zubik told the station diocesan officials learned of the student’s spoof from pictures they received last week. The student has not been named.

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.

Zubik disagreed. “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.”

The university’s College of Fine Arts organized the fourth annual Anti-Gravity Downhill Derby, a performance parade. The event is one of several held during the school’s Spring Carnival. The carnival features buggy races in which students push handmade vehicles; the parade lampoons the buggy races.

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