Featured at an exhibition at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, is a display of figurines that depicts the pope and nuns defecating. Since the Catholic League protested on January 4, Catholic volunteers at the museum have quit and several local Catholic groups have cancelled events. But museum officials are justifying the display by arguing that it is an acceptable tradition in Catalonia, Spain, to offer such fare; the artist who is responsible for this work, Antoni Miralda, is from Catalonia.
Catholic League president William Donohue reacted as follows:
“According to the latest AP article on this story, it is a Catalonian tradition to display figurines that depict famous people defecating; they are known as caganers. What was not said is that this tradition doesn’t travel very well. Ironically, the multicultural purists who populate the artistic community never tire of lecturing the public on the need to respect the cultural heritage of other countries. Yet somehow these rules are suspended when applied to importing artwork from abroad that offends Americans at home. In short, who cares what passes as acceptable in the scatological circles of Catalonia? This is our country. Thus, Miralda and his apologists are obliged to respect our traditions.
“The director of the Toy Museum in Catalonia, Josep Maria Joan, has characterized critics of Miralda’s work as ‘intolerant.’ This is what we would expect from someone who has been collecting caganers for over 40 years. His addiction has obviously messed up his judgment.
“On the hunch that someone who sees the Miralda masterpiece might be tempted to imitate the caganers, we are sending a pooper-scooper to COPIA director Peggy Loar. We previously sent a pooper-scooper to the Brooklyn Museum of Art after dung was thrown on a portrait of Our Blessed Mother. If this keeps up, we’ll have to make a bulk order.”