Vatican Shuts Down Photo Exhibit Featuring Gay Couples Kissing In Churches


The Vatican this week blocked an exhibition of photos by artist Gonzalo Orquin that featured gay couples kissing in Churches in Rome. The exhibition entitled, "Trialogo" was scheduled to open at the Galleria L'Opera. However, once the Vatican sent a letter threatening legal action, declaring, "the church is against the exhibition," and invoking the Italian constitution to make its case, Orquin consulted with his lawyers and decided to pull the exhibit for "security reasons." The Huffington Post reports:

BlackVicariate spokesman Claudio Tanturri told The Local
that the photos violate the Italian constitution. “Italian
constitutional law safeguards an individual’s religious feeling and the
function of places of worship," he said. “Therefore photos that are not
suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and
infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the
expression of faith" […]

Orquin posted a Facebook photo with the covered up images and a caption protesting the censorship.

Orquin, who is Spanish and Catholic, said that he found Italy to be
"a very homophobic country" in the eight years that he has lived in
Rome. "There aren't other countries in Europe or West that are backward
like this," he said.

Flavio Romani, the president of gay rights group Arcigay had stronger words, calling the Vatican's reaction "grotesque."

“In the images in which the church have seen provocation, I see an
exchange of love, a type of public worship that creates harmony not
contrast," he said. "The indignation of the Catholic Church, therefore,
is extremely grotesque."

The Vatican's decision to publicly lambaste the exhibit comes on the heels of Pope Francis's most extensive remarks to date on homosexuality, in which he proclaimed that the Church needed to get away from focusing solely on issues like abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Specifically referring to gay people, the Pope commented that "it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person." 

You can see the rest of the photos that would have been part of Orquin's exhibit HERE.

(Photos via Facebook)


  1. mike/ says

    aren’t they all going to have a big surprise when, if their beliefs are true, they ALL face Jesus & Peter after they die who will deny them entry into their “Kingdom of God” because they abused the ‘word’ of their gospels on love, forgiveness, acceptance, humility, etc. that they so easily ignore?

  2. Jerry says

    Orquin is right about how homophobic Italy and Italians are, but Italy vies for homophobia capitol with Greece, Serbia, Georgia and Russia-all counrtries with large Eastern Orthodox populations. There is currently a pissing match going on between Archbishop Krill and Patriarch Bartholomew over “muy mas macho” issues. Thanks to sainted church fathers like Basil and John Chrysostom who compared homosexuals to murderers, concluding homosexuals were worse, homophobia is virulent and hateful in the hands of the anointed leaders of modern Eastern Orthodoxy.

  3. Just_a_guy says

    Pictures of gays kissing in Catholic Churches? Romance defined.. Beauty made real. Never mind thought-provoking. I mean, Catholic art is mostly so over. But it has new life when gays kiss in front of it. Seriously. I wanna go see that exhibit. And contribute to it?? :-). This is so a THING! There should be a tumblr or something devoted to this at least. Love!

  4. johnny says

    Controversy aside, from a strictly aesthetic and critical viewpoint, the photos are not that great. In most photos, the participants seem half-hearted at best, some are not even touching each other, some aren’t actually kissing at all. One couple looks very invested in the action, but most are not. It’s like seeing two people who don’t know each other begrudgingly kiss after they’ve been told to.

    I understand the concept and applaud it, bu the execution is really bad. These are poorly lit, grainy, blurry, speculars invade… overall very inconsistant, unfortunate photography.

  5. verbocityeric says

    In The Book of the Courtier, Castiglioni has Cardinal Bembo say “A kiss is the union of two souls.” A kiss is not in itself lustful.
    One of the reasons houses of whorship exist is for people to find communion with each other. Congregants kiss during mass in imitation of Jesus sharing his love with his followers. A kiss may also be a way to share or transfer the transcendence one feels in the presence of the holy.
    Orquin and the gallery owner should welcome a lawsuit and use to fight for inclusiveness They can make a very strong case that these pictures are a proper use of churches because God loves everyone and everyone is free to make a relationship with God.

  6. trees says

    The bleeding, torture and pain of Jesus are depicted in the church, but love and respect between two kissing men is condemned. Martyrs and saints suffering horrible pain and death are shown on every surface of the church, but two men kissing amid all the horror is considered corrupting to society and evil. Kissing is worse than spikes through flesh.

  7. Just_a_guy says

    Found the pics in the link, ha. I like them. They’re public kisses; not drunk make-out passionate kisses, but no less real or genuine.

    This is a great cultural moment. Take Me to Church; Tr already posted this song, but these kissing images brought back the catchy jingle without me knowing why.

  8. jamal49 says

    So, an exhibition showing two men,kissing in various Catholic churches is banned because it offends “and individuals religious feeling and the function of places of worship”?

    The kisses are innocuous and loving, not lewd nor profane. They express that highest ideal of the Church: Human love.

    So, for all of those here and elsewhere who were ululating over the new Pope Francis, I shall say I told you so.

    Nothing will change. The Church’s institutional homophobia will continue as always.

    Let it go. Christianity is a vile cancer on humanity. It must be excised, by whatever means necessary.

  9. Tery says

    When will people wise up and realize that this pope is a dope like all the others. They make statements for the press but never change a single policy. These cross dressing child molesters survive on hate.

  10. Tery says

    When will people wise up and realize that this pope is a dope like all the others. They make statements for the press but never change a single policy. These cross dressing child molesters survive on hate.

  11. Onnyjay says

    Same old same-old, from the fine folks who brought/bring us child rape, the rack, burning alive, and other, um deviant behavior. So shutting down a photo exhibit will make gay sex go away, right?

  12. B says

    The art gallery is not showing the exhibit for “security reasons”? What happened? Did the church offer some mafiosi some “indulgences” (a get out of Hell card or what not for deceased Mafia dons) if their earthly compatriots made the gallery an offer it couldn’t refuse?

  13. astounded says

    Ahh, Italy. The same country that is used to believing in ‘acts of god’ decided, in the bizarre world of the Italian legal system, to charge six seismologists and a public official for manslaughter for NOT predicting the quake!

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