Pope Benedict Condemns Blasphemous Art

By  Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

Pope Benedict took some time during his summer holiday in northern Italy to write a letter of complaint to authorities in the nearby town of Bolzano about a sculpture of a crucified frog that is being displayed in the town’s museum.

Authorities report the Pope’s letter said the sculpture “has injured the religious feeling of many people who see in the cross the symbol of the love of God and of our salvation which deserves recognition and religious devotion.”

The three foot high sculpture by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger depicts a frog nailed to a cross with a frothing mug of beer in one hand and an egg in the other.

Critics claim the work offends the sensibilities of the region’s 99 percent Christian population, while museum curators maintain that Kippenberger’s work is a self-portrait of the artist ”in a state of profound crisis” and is not an attack on religious feeling.

However, the sculpture has been sparking controversy since its installation in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Museion) of Bolzano in May.

The row gained momentum at the end of July when a former Senator and Catholic politician Renzo Gubert reported the work to police for public obscenity.

The sculpture has been moved from the entrance of the museum to a more out of the way position, but museum personnel refuse to remove it.

Museum director Corinne Diserens said on Wednesday the frog would remain in place until the temporary exhibition is due to end on September 21.

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