A Catholic priest at a Dominican Republic resort town wants to destroy artwork in his parish because the painting shows angels with “a homosexual expression”. This confuses the faithful, he argues.
The painting named "Allegory of the Virgin of Carmen," was concluded 12 years ago by Dominican artist Roberto Flores. The artwork adorns the interior of the church of “Our Lady of Carmen” in the mountain community of Jarabacoa, an agricultural and tourist center located in the Dominican Republic.
The priest Johnny Duran sparked the controversy surrounding the painting, after promoting the adoption by the Jarabacoa City Council of a resolution that revokes an earlier statement by the same council that designated the mural as municipal heritage.
Explaining his reason to revoke the previous decision and destroy the mural, the priest argues that the church congregation feels uncomfortable by the painting and that the mural does not inspire religious sentiments because the angels there depicted have a “diabolical, homosexual look” in their faces. Further, he contends that it is not clear whether the angels are male or female.
Taty Hernández, a Dominican poet and cultural advocate, native of the town of Jarabacoa, wrote a letter to the authorities denouncing the priest’s intentions and the decision adopted by the council. She is alerting the community on the intentions of removing the mural stating that there is a hidden agenda and an element of racism, since the angels are mulattoes. Hernandez said in her letter that the city's cultural community intends to contest the decision if it goes ahead, reported the Dominican newspaper Diario Libre (in Spanish).
Jarabacoa is the third largest municipality in La Vega Province. It is located in the center of the Dominican Republic and has a population of about 77.000 people.
(Note: This is the first report of this news in English language media; 04/06/10 - 9:40 hr. Toronto time).