Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan on The Offensive Depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Office of Communications
Celine Baca Radigan
4000 Saint Joseph Place NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120-1714
505.831.8180, Fax 831.8161,

ALBUQUERQUE - (March 26, 2001)

Statement of Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan on the offensive depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Upon my return on Friday evening, March 23, from leading a pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes I found out about the controversy regarding yet another trashing of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To depict the Virgin Mary in a floral bikini held aloft by a bare breasted angel is to be insulting, even sacrilegious, to the many thousands of New Mexicans who have deep religious devotion to Guadalupe.

To place such a repulsive picture in the Museum of International Folk Art shows insensitivity to a large segment of Santa Feans and imprudence in the administration of a State funded institution. Such a picture has no place in a tax supported public museum.

As the Archbishop of Santa Fe I find it offensive that the Catholic symbol of Guadalupe has been so disrespectfully treated. In the recent past the Virgin Mary has been shown in contemporary art smeared with elephant dung and she has been depicted as a golden haired Barbie doll. Now this! I doubt that the Jewish community would be patient with such a mistreatment of symbols sacred to their faith.

I wish those who want to paint controversial art would find their own symbols to trash and leave the Catholic ones alone.I urge the Board of Regents of the Museum to see that the offensive image is removed and that those responsible for the unfortunate decision to display it apologize.