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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stalking the Beast with a Squirrel Gun

Lest we forget, the barbarians also lay siege to the Holy Catholic Church in Europe, in this instance on their own turf, Austria. Savor, if you will, the hard-hitting response from Cardinal Schoenborn.

VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's Roman Catholic cardinal said on Wednesday that he regrets the exhibition of a homoerotic version of Christ's Last Supper in a museum linked to his diocese.

The controversial work was exhibited in Vienna's Cathedral Museum as part of a retrospective honoring Austria's renowned artist Alfred Hrdlicka, who recently turned 80.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, archbishop of Vienna, said he had backed the exhibition without knowing the detailed contents.

"I obviously would not have agreed to have blasphemous or pornographic works exhibited. I therefore explicitly regrets that a work of this kind was exhibited without my knowledge," the cardinal said in a statement.

Mercy! The Archbishop means business: he explicitly regrets the display of this blasphemous tripe, the paint-product of an aging and unrepentant Stalinist. But it gets better: here his Eminence moves in for the kill:

"In some of (the pictures) he oversteps the essential threshold of respect for the sacred," the cardinal said, adding that the museum does not identify with all of the works.

Herr Hrdlicka is surely reeling from that blow! Readers aghast at the harshness of Cardinal Schoeborn's response, however, will be relieved to know the good Archbishop also tempers justice with mercy: he had considered sending the museum staff a sharply-worded memo about the outrage but in the end decided against it, concerned the severity of such a measure might border on the unchristian.

(Thanks to William Tighe.)

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