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:
Vicariate 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.