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July 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Vatican archbishop doubled down in defense of his posting to social media an image of a naked man and woman lying on the ground surrounded by naked children, despite the fact that Twitter has now placed the problematic image behind a warning label reading: “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chancellor of the new John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome and the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, hit back at those who criticized him for posting the image, accusing them of “a deeply morbid gaze.”
“The photograph, as it has been amply highlighted by the articles that came out on the subject, portrays a Catholic family model and contains nothing erotic, ambiguous or inappropriate. Therefore, it can only disturb a deeply morbid gaze, as it was written: ‘omnia munda munids [sic]’,” a statement published on Paglia’s website reads.
Last week, Paglia posted a link to a tweet from the John Paul II Institute promoting a broadcast featuring film director Alessandro D'Alatri. The film director was behind the 2002 film Casomai, which according to the John Paul II Institute’s web page promoting the broadcast, is “used today in all premarital courses.”
Both the original tweet and Paglia post included an image showing two actors of the film Casomai, Fabio Volo, and Stefania Rocca, lying down naked with one arm holding up their heads. They are surrounded by four naked children, who appear to be male and of a similar age. The actors are posed in such a way to mostly cover intimate parts of the body, although a significant part of one of Rocca’s breasts is visible.
Twitter has now placed the image behind a warning label reading: “The following media includes potentially sensitive content,” but it can still be viewed if users choose to click through to display the image.
On Paglia’s post, the warning label placed on the original post by Twitter causes the message “This Tweet is unavailable” to appear. However, the link posted in Paglia’s tweet still brings you through to the original post where the image can be viewed.
This is not the first time Paglia has been involved in a controversy involving images of naked people.
The archbishop was featured in a homoerotic painting he commissioned in his Cathedral.
The massive mural covers the opposite side of the facade of the cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia. It depicts Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, jumbled together in erotic interactions.
As reported by LifeSite’s Matthew Hoffman in 2017, “included in one of the nets is Paglia, the then diocesan bishop. The image of the Savior is painted with the face of a local male hairdresser, and his private parts can be seen through his translucent garb.”
In his recent article, Paglia also defends the controversial mural, likening it to well-known works of Catholic art and claiming that there is “absolutely nothing ‘homoerotic’” depicted and that “it is a traditional representation of the Last Judgment.”
“Regarding this other absurd controversy it should be noted first of all that the Cathedral of Terni is certainly not the only church in the world in which naked bodies are portrayed: just think of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's paintings (also subject to censorship, yes, but 500 years ago),” the article says.
While Catholic critics have blasted the mural as "disgusting” and “blasphemous,” Paglia’s recent article says that considering the mural to homoerotic is “morbid” and “groundless.” He has previously claimed that it serves as an “evangelizing” tool.
Paglia also oversaw the release of a controversial sex-ed program during the 2016 World Youth Day in Poland that includes sexually explicit images. The course was criticized as being “thoroughly immoral.”
The archbishop has defended giving Holy Communion to adulterers, has been instrumental in gutting and remaking the John Paul II Institute according to the pulse of the Francis pontificate, has asserted that priests may legitimately remain at the bedside of someone undergoing assisted suicide in order to “hold their hand” and “accompany” them, and has claimed that anyone who says Judas Iscariot is in hell is a heretic.