MENDOZA, Argentina (LifeSiteNews) — Blasphemous sculptures at an Argentinian university have been destroyed by a group of faithful Catholics, but the local diocese has condemned their action.
The exhibit, which depicted Jesus Christ as a naked woman and the Blessed Virgin Mary as female genitalia, was displayed at the National University of Cuyo Mendoza, Argentina until its destruction on March 20. The installation was a celebration of International Women’s Day, which fell on March 8.
According to local news sources, the alleged leader of the group of Catholics who destroyed the images was Daniel Giaquinta. Giaquinta organized the group to pray “exorcism” prayers at the site. Video footage shows a large crowd gathered around the sculptures, praying the Hail Mary. Other video footage shows the crowd toppling the blasphemous images while shouting “VIVA CHRISTO REY.” The crowd broke into loud applause as the statues shattered on the ground.
Following the destruction of the exhibit, the Social Pastoral Ministry of the Archdiocese of Mendoza issued a statement condemning the Catholics’ actions. The archdiocesan office even extended sympathy to the creators of the blasphemous works for their loss.
“We repudiate this act of physical violence towards the works exhibited [at the university],” they wrote in a March 20 statement. “We stand in solidarity with the artists who saw the fruit of their work and effort affected.”
“We call again for harmony and peace that is lost at the extremes, when we stop perceiving that behind a work or behind a religious symbol there are people who have beliefs or ideologies that should not be violated, ridiculed or wronged,” they added.
Initially, the Social Pastoral Ministry of the archdiocese had condemned the exhibit, saying that the pieces perpetrated “symbolic violence against Christian religious signs” and “seriously offend” Christians.
“[The exhibit] contains elements that, from the caricature, exert symbolic violence on Christian religious signs … betraying the path that we want to follow of respect and full observance of all human rights, including religious ones,” they wrote on Sunday, March 19.
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Numerous Catholics, angered at what they see as a weak response from the Archdiocese of Mendoza, have taken to social media to express their feelings about the diocesan apology, as well as to applaud the destruction of the offensive images.
“The Archdiocese of Mendoza needs a Catholic bishop,” wrote one angry user on Twitter.
The Archdiocese of Mendoza needs a Catholic bishop.
— The New Majority (@NixonandIke) March 22, 2023
“I don’t know what’s worse, the exposition or the latest statement from the Archdiocese of Mendoza,” wrote another on Facebook.
One man on Facebook described the art exhibit as “satanic works,” saying that they filled him with “disgust, indignation and outrage.”
“I openly congratulate the Catholics … who, by making proper use of their hands, knew how to chop apart those aberrations that cannot even be called trash,” he added.
The individual then addressed the Archdiocese, reminding them that there is a time for righteous anger.
“My second repudiation is directed to the communiqué of the Archdiocese of Mendoza, which does not want ‘violence’ and maintains that individual belief must be respected,” he wrote. “I have always thought that if these people had been in Christ’s time, they would have persecuted him with their … corrections, with the understanding that to use the whip to drive out the merchants who made the House of God a den of thieves was to incite violence and violate personal beliefs.”
“Glorious moment when Catholics, yelling VIVA CRISTO REY, destroy a blasphemous “art” exposition insulting Our Lord and his Blessed Mother at Nat. Univ. of Cuyo in Argentina,” tweeted another user, along with a video of a crowd destroying the heretical pieces.
“Blasphemy has no rights,” he added.
Glorious moment when Catholics, yelling VIVA CRISTO REY, destroy a blasphemous “art” exposition insulting Our Lord and his Blessed Mother at Nat. Univ. of Cuyo in Argentina.
BLASPHEMY HAS NO RIGHTS pic.twitter.com/Wi6276fZTI
— Malleus Haereticorum Modernistarum (@PRTrad1) March 21, 2023
“I believe that Luke 19:40, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” applies perfectly,” said another. “If the Catholic hierarchy is not willing to defend our Church, the Church will defend itself.”
I believe that Luke 19:40, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” applies perfectly.
If the catholic hierarchy is not willing to defend our church, the church will defend itself.
— Mario Duarte (@MarioDuarteGar) March 21, 2023
The exhibit’s curator, Sergio Rosas, a professor at the University of Cuyo, told media that despite the destruction, the show would continue to the end of the month, with pictures of the destroyed sculptures replacing the original pieces.
The university rector, Ester Sánchez, said that they had video evidence of those who committed the destruction, and that the university would be investigating those involved.