Penn’s Artful Dodge

March 27, 1995 by  
Filed under Catalyst Online, Features

The following letter appeared in The Catholic Standard and Times, weekly of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Mr. Delaney is president of the League’s newly reorganized Greater Philadelphia-South Jersey Chapter.

During the entire solemn season of Advent right through the sacred feast of Christmas, Christians were able to view the works ofAndres Serrano at the University of Pennsylvania, particularly his “reverential” (their word, not mine) offering of a photograph of a crucifix immersed in a vial of urine.

Patrick Murphy, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the university, said the work was “only one of 52 works in the exhibition.

If there were so many other fine works, then the removal of a single sacrilegious and grossly offensive work could not have done much harm to the exhibition. But then we would be faced with (charges of) free artistic expression and all that!

I wonder if the administration at Penn would have been as concerned about free artistic expression and would have sanctioned this exhibit if the crucifix in this vial o f urine were replaced by the Islamic Crescent Moon or the Star of David or a replica of Buddha?

That the University of Pennsylvania, priding itself on its tolerance and inclusiveness, would in callous disregard for millions allow such a display is atrocious.

I fully expect that Penn would at least have the grace to apologize to the Catholic and the larger Christian community for such an egregious insult.

Arthur J Delaney, Jr.
President
Greater Philadelphia South Jersey Chapter


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Written by Bill