The Corner

Doubt

“Doubt,” the play that won the Pulitzer Prize this year, just got nominated for 8 Tony Awards. “Doubt” is a marvelous theatrical melodrama about an allegation of priestly pedophilia at a Bronx parochial school in 1964 — and is noteworthy because its hero is a tough-as-nails, knuckle-wrapping nun named Sister Aloysius. But there’s something deeply disturbing — even disgusting — at the center of John Patrick Shanley’s play. Sister Aloysius is scolded by the mother of a 10 year-old boy whom the nun believes has been molested. Her son is gay, the mother says, his father beats him up and anyway, the kid is black. She’s just happy the priest is nice to him and might help the boy get into a good high school. This scene is intended to suggest that the nun’s moral absolutism has met its match in the mother’s weary worldliness. But still, it veers uncomfortably close to NAMBLA logic. Shanley thinks he’s being profound, when in fact he’s put an apologia for pedophilia in the mouth of a victim’s mother.

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