Page 10, 19th February 1965

19th February 1965
Page 10
Page 10, 19th February 1965 — Continued from Page 1, Col. 5

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People: Hochhuth
Locations: Milan, Rome


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Continued from Page 1, Col. 5


anxious that the true facts relating to the Pope should be given to the world.

In his now famous letter to The Tablet, written only a few days before he was elected Pope on June 21, 1963, he wrote, as Archbishop of Milan: "Let us suppose that Pius XII had done what Hochhuth blames him for not doing. His action would have led to such reprisals and devastations that Hochhuth himself, the war being over and he now possessed of a better historical, political and moral judgment, would have been able to write another play, far more realistic and far more interesting, than the one that he has in fact so cleverly but so ineptly put together."

The near-riot in Rome came when an Italian producer, Gian Maria Volonte, endeavoured to give the private showing of The Representative exclusively to members of a small theatre club he has formed and to journalists.

A strong force of police turned up at the basement theatre and refused entry to people invited to attend. They also went into the

theatre and ordered out those who had already managed to get in.

There were several scuffles. and a journalist from the official Communist newspaper Unita was taken to police headquarters when he refused to leave the theatre, the outside of which, incidentally, still bears the coat of arms of Pope Pius X11.

The police first gave the weak explanation that they closed down the theatre because the management "did not have its papers in order".

Later, however, the Prefect of Rome said that official action was taken under the terms of the Lateran Pact which has a clause protecting the "sacred character" of the Holy City and makes it an offence to insult the Pope or the memory of a Pope.

There is no suggestion that the Vatican authorities themselves initiated the action though they nbviously did not relish the thought of the play being staged almost on their doorstep.

A small plastic bomb exploded against a side entrance to the

Vatican early on Wednesday morning splintering a wooden door and shattering windows along the street. No-one was injured. Police said two men were seen walking towards the area shortly before the explosion and then running to a car which sped off.

There is speculation that the incident may be a protest against the police ban on "The Representative". On Tuesday the L'Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio deplored the bookshop performance as a grave offence.

Even among many Vatican officials, however, it is felt that the whole thing has been very tactlessly handled. Had the performance been allowed to proceed without fuss there would have been no 'Incidents" and little publicity.

As it is, the whole violent controversy has been dragged up again, the play has received another boost and enemies of the Church, especially the Communists, have been handed on a plate a chance to accuse it of "suppression", "interference with public liberty", "censorship" and the rest.

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