MANILA, August 9, 2011?A Catholic bishop has strongly denounced the controversial exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines calling it “sickening” and completely sacrilegious.
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, in his blog http://www.ovc.blogspot.com/ has condemned the exhibit of artist Mideo Cruz describing it as a “consummate sacrilege!”
The retired prelate said the exhibit is “sick and sickening” and “radically insensitive to natural decency, offensive to ethical standards, [and] hideous to moral norms.”
The art installation features various religious objects, among it an image of Jesus Christ with an attached wooden replica of a male genital draped with a rosary, protruding directly over his face.
Archbishop Cruz said freedom of expression means one has the right to say and do what is right, proper and just and “not what is vulgar and despicable, highly profane and gravely offensive to even but to good manners and right conduct.”
The prelate criticized the CCP for “displaying the radical vulgarity instead at nurturing and promoting Filipino positive cultural values as defined by its Mission Statement.”
He explained art is meant to uplift the human spirit and not to trample on its nobility, “neither to demean its aspirations, nor to place it at a garbage pile.”
For his part, Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David compared the so-called Mideo Cruz’s case as “like that of a kleptomaniac who derives pleasure from stealing, or a sadomasochist who draws fulfillment from either hurting people or being hurt by them.”
The prelate said Cruz knows vandalizing religious icons and symbols is one of the surest ways of hurting people’s sensibilities and “an effective way of provoking violent reactions from people he labels as fanatics.”
The auxiliary bishop said Cruz enjoys all the media attention he’s getting for his mediocre and fetishist installations which he calls “art.” He also noted Cruz’s portrayal as a victim of persecution by religious fanatics.
Bishop David explained Mideo Cruz complaints about the people’s “violent reaction without seeing the psychological violence that he himself inflicts on the people, in the first place.
The prelate suggested Mideo Cruz needs urgent psychiatric help “and the proper Christian attitude towards people like Mr. Cruz is not condemnation but pity.
Bishop David said Jesus prayed for people like him (Mideo Cruz), on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’” He added there’s no need to worry about Cruz hurting Christ since there is no pain Christ is not ready to bear, even from sick people like Mr. Cruz.
He explained he’d be more worried about him hurting himself eventually as “people with his kind of sickness often have such tendencies.”
He went on to describe the people at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as “more seriously pathetic,” because they are supposed to be “art connoisseurs but who cannot even see the difference between art and plain vandalism, and who allow themselves to be taken for a ride by a sick man posing as an artist.”
“That, for me, is pretty serious, especially considering that they are funded with taxpayers’ money,” he concluded.
Former CBCP President Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said the art exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines desecrates the image of Jesus Christ.
“It is blasphemous and an affront against Christianity,” the 71-year old prelate said in a message to CBCPNews.
Gumaca Bishop Buenaventura Famadico said “those behind the exhibit should be sensitive to the religious beliefs of Christians.”
The Office of the Rector of the University of Santo Tomas still has to issue a statement on the exhibit which has been described to be part of the Pontifical Royal University’s quadricentennial celebration.
The exhibit which was opened to the public last June 17 will run until August 21, unless the CCP decides to end it ahead of time. (Melo M. Acuna)