Argentine archdiocese repudiates destruction of blasphemous art exhibition

Argentine art exhibit Destruction in the art show at the Rector’s Office of the National University of Cuy in Argentina on March 20, 2023. | Credit: Radio U Staff - UNCUYO

The Archdiocese of Mendoza, Argentina, repudiated the acts of violence that took place Monday afternoon against an art exhibition offensive to the Christian faith.

The exhibition, titled “#8M Visual Manifestos,” is being exhibited during the month of March at the Rector’s offfice of the National University of Cuyo for Women’s Month. “8M” stands for March 8, International Women’s Day.

Some of the exhibited works had drawn criticism among those who profess the Catholic faith and among Christians in general for their explicit blasphemous content.

One of them alludes to the crucifixion of Jesus represented by the body of a naked woman; another symbolizes a vulva that simulates the silhouette of the Virgin Mary.

When the Social Ministry of the Archdiocese of Mendoza learned of the exhibition, the ministry repudiated it for carrying out “symbolic violence against Christian religious signs” and added that it “seriously offends” religious convictions.

Members of the educational community also spoke out and collected signatures for the exhibition to be removed from the university facilities.

On the afternoon of March 20, a group of people gathered to pray in the room where the exhibit was displayed and ended up trashing it.

In response to the vandalism, the Social Ministry of the Archdiocese of Mendoza issued a new statement, this time repudiating “this act of physical violence towards the works exhibited there.”

The ministry also expressed its solidarity “with the artists who saw the fruit of their work and effort damaged.”

“We call again for harmony and peace that is lost in extremes,” the ministry said.

At the same time, the archdiocesan ministry recalled that “behind a work or a religious symbol there are people who have beliefs or ideologies that should not be violated, ridiculed, or offended.”

Finally, the ministry lamented the actions of those who “live their religiosity as in dark times, which have been so painful for humanity.”

The statement concluded by invoking “the protection of God, source of all reason and justice,” citing the Argentine Constitution.

The university’s rector, Esther Sánchez; vice rector, Gabriel Fidel; and other officials condemned “all kinds of violence” and urged dialogue.

“The National University of Cuyo with its plurality of ideas, visions, and thoughts offers its space for reflection. It calls for listening and accepting differences in peace,” they said.

“The mission of producing knowledge and forming people can only be carried out in a peaceful environment and of sincere debate where the recognition of the other person and their ideas allows innovating and contributing solutions that unite and don’t alienate,” they said.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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