Naked Christ sculpture draws fire from Jamaican archbishop


Archbishop Donald J. Reece of Kingston criticized Jamaica’s leading newspaper for publishing a front-page photo of a 10-foot sculpture depicting Christ's naked body and exposed genitalia.

He said the photos and accompanying article was in “poor taste for the commemoration of the holiest day for Christians, Easter.”

“For the life of me I cannot begin to fathom the Observer's rationale for a full three-page exposition of Christ's naked body with reference to the sacrosanct belief of the Eucharist,” the Jamaican archbishop wrote in an April 25 letter to the editor of the Jamaican Observer.

Laura Facey, the sculptor, told the Observer she was pleased with the controversy. “If you don't create a stir, then what's the point of doing the work?” she said. 

Archbishop Reece said her work reflected society's growing lack of respect for the sacred.

“In western society, nothing seems to be sacred anymore: sex is no longer sacred, it's now a commodity; religious beliefs or objects are no longer held sacred; and the human body is forever being trivialized, and considered disposable.”

The archbishop suggested there was a double standard at work in portraying Christian symbols disrespectfully: “I wonder if an artist had caricatured the prophet Muhammad or some aspects of the Koran, if you would have featured it so readily and prominently in your newspaper.”

He concluded: “The mystery of life is slowly being eroded. Then we wonder about the mores of our society … We adults have opened the sluice gate of relativism, inappropriateness, and indecency; the result is far-reaching. Sanctity of life linked to a sense of mystery is fast disappearing. Do the media have a role to play in this sorry pass?”

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