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30 Sep 2013

Vatican blocks Rome gallery from showing photo exhibit of gay couples kissing in churches

Despite Pope Francis's recent pronouncements that the Catholic church should stop focusing on gay issues, the Catholic Church has reportedly threatened legal action should an art gallery in Rome decide to go ahead with its exhibition of photographs showing same-sex couples sharing kisses in churches.

An art gallery in Rome has covered up an exhibition of photographs showing same-sex couples kissing in churches, reportedly following a legal threat by the Vatican, according to The Local, which bills itself as the largest English-language news network in Europe.

The photography series by Gonzalo Orquín was scheduled to open at the Galleria L’Opera last Wednesday evening and to run until November 15. The photographer said the gallery had received a legal notice from the Vatican, and that he and the gallery had decided to cover up the photographs.

His works were to be presented with two other artists, and all three were invited by journalist and art critic Edoardo Sassi to "realise three works on decidedly anti-conventional themes and, above all, to treat them in a non-conventional fashion: Suore, Matrimoni, Interni (Nuns, Weddings, Interiors)..."

Artist Gonzalo Orquín with his exhibit. Photo: repubblica.it
Click here to view the series.

Orquin posted photo with the covered up images
and a caption protesting the censorship on his Facebook page.

“A letter arrived from the Vicariate of Rome, an organisation that is part of the Vatican, which said the church is against the exhibition. I spoke to lawyers and for security reasons we decided not to show the photos,” Orquín told The Local.

A spokesman for the Vicariate Cladio Tanturri said the photographs went against the Italian constitution.

“Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual’s religious feeling and the function of places of worship. Therefore photos that are not suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith.”

Photo: repubblica.it
Click here to view the series.

All but one of the 16 photographs were taken in churches in Rome, with gay and straight volunteers posing for Orquín.

“We went to churches, took the photos at the altar and ran off... it’s a bit like a flash mob,” The Local quoted Orquín, who is Catholic, as saying. “A number of times we left because there were a people praying. It wasn’t easy.”

Orquín, who is Spanish but has lived in Rome for eight years, said lawyers are currently working on the case and for the moment the photos will continue to be covered up.

He said he found Italy to be “a very homophobic county”.

“There aren’t other countries in Europe or the West that are backward like this,” he said.

Flavio Romani, the president of gay rights group Arcigay had stronger words, calling the Vatican's reaction "grotesque."

"In the images in which the church have seen provocation, I see an exchange of love, a type of public worship that creates harmony not contrast," he said. "The indignation of the Catholic Church, therefore, is extremely grotesque."

Pope Francis had recently said in an interview with America, a Catholic magazine, that the Church needed to get away from focusing solely on issues like abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Specifically referring to gay people, the Pope commented that "it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."


1. 2013-09-30 20:49  
lol... who cares were we kiss... we kiss!
2. 2013-09-30 21:21  
I can understand that some people find the photos offensive. Religion is something very personal and sensitive.
I find the photos of really bad quality. If an artist wants to make a statement with photos then he should either make excellent photos or ask a professional to do it for him.
3. 2013-09-30 23:02  
is vatican communsit or capitalist ?
so far behind most countries that allow gay marriage.
4. 2013-10-01 00:29  
i see the vatican's point of view - the church kisses were an exhibition stunt, not an expression of love.
5. 2013-10-01 04:18  
I'm sorry if i sounded like a bigot or some fundamentalist.....but why do it inside a church and especially near the sanctuary?....

to me the church is a holy ground and should be respected....can't they do it outside church grounds?.....

just a 5 cents thought.....
6. 2013-10-01 06:18  
They say, "Time will heal everything..."

So eventually in time, perhaps things will change since a precious Pope acknowledged "Aliens" as our brothers in Christ... (LOL)

Meanwhile... the church continues to stand in the way of progress in gay equality. Is it SO MUCH to ask that everyone be treated the same?

my 1.5 cent thought... haha...
7. 2013-10-01 06:46  

Love the sinners, hate the sin
8. 2013-10-01 08:44  
#5, the couples were kissing, NOT making out or getting it off. How is expressing love disrespectful, pray tell :-)?
9. 2013-10-01 10:27  
Catholic church shoots itself in the foot yet again. Gives huge publicity to this, which is the opposite of what they would want.
10. 2013-10-01 10:54  
The head of the world's largest collection of pedophiles can tell Italy/Rome what to do or not to do?

回应#11於於2013-10-01 10:56被作者删除。
12. 2013-10-01 17:22  
Totally agree with #10. Pope Francis runs a clergy infested with paedophiles. Who is he to talk about "sin"? Shouldn't he do some housekeeping before embarrassing himself in public?
13. 2013-10-01 20:33  
Well whatever. I still applaud Francis for taking the first step, though. He had already made clear that the church cannot change it's stance, and that's not to be mixed up with his call for the church to take its focus off issues like gay marriage.
回应#14於於2013-10-02 00:19被作者删除。
回应#15於於2013-10-02 00:18被作者删除。
回应#16於於2013-10-02 02:01被作者删除。
17. 2013-10-03 21:48  
When words or deeds are not clear, then we look into the intent. So, what's the intention of the photographer in this case. Surely, it was not for art's sake as the photos taken were no better than snap shots. So why use the St. Peter's iconic altar as the background? To create a controversy with his photos as center pieces? To create a rave for his "art" exhibition?
If so, these are what give gay movement and image a lingering bad taste in the mouth. I agree with 10, but that's not the issue here. Let's examine ourselves and "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone".
回应#18於於2013-10-03 21:51被作者删除。
回应#19於於2013-10-03 21:52被作者删除。
20. 2013-10-03 21:56  
there are catholic gays whats wrong with them giving each other a kiss in the church an affectionate one not too long is ok surely.
21. 2013-10-04 01:07  
@17 - if he was doing it to create controversy or upset people, the photos would be showing much more than people giving a chaste kiss. These photos are about love. Maybe they are saying that our love is just as sacred as that of straight people.
22. 2013-10-05 01:23  
A religion created by God should have a clear message that does not create confusion or allow misinterpretation by its followers.
23. 2013-10-09 22:49  
God is spirit
Do u think spirit is only in church?
where are spirit?
The problem is some people think that Holly book is God,
and Holly book writer is God.
Is there spirit around your Bed? do u believe it?
24. 2013-10-24 05:33  




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