Catholics to Santa Fe Museum: Keep Blasphemy Out!

(June 30, 2001)

Nearly a thousand Catholics gathered and prayed in front of Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art to express their outrage at an exhibit they considered blasphemous. The June 30 rally centered on Alma Lopez's "Our Lady," an "art" display that has divided this New Mexican city for months.

ANF Director Robert Ritchie(right) and TFP Vice President Thomas McKenna at the rally.

Press reports describe the exhibit as a computer collage portraying a bikini-clad Virgin of Guadalupe, held aloft by a topless woman-angel.

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its affiliate campaign America Needs Fatima coordinated a rally of peaceful protest and reparation. Offended Catholics from all over New Mexico and at least seven other states were represented in the crowd.

Rally attendees heard inspiring addresses from clergy and local leaders such as Major General (Ret.) Melvin Montaño of Albuquerque. The rosary, litany to Our Lady and many other prayers marked the act of reparation with devotion.


Many Protest Efforts

Public outcry has been nothing short of overwhelming. Local grassroots reaction has prompted hearings on the issue. Local Catholics organized buses to bring people to the rally.

In addition, TFP and America Needs Fatima supporters are sending e-mail protests to the Museum of International Folk Art. The museum is receiving tens of thousands of the TFP's Enough is enough! protest postcards. Both efforts will continue until the exhibit ends on October 28.

"I am appalled at the insensitivity of the artist and museum directors in face of the countless Catholics who are offended by this exhibit," said campaign director Robert E. Ritchie. "This rally is living proof that Our Lady has those who honor and defend her."

TFP vice president Thomas McKenna with Fr. Michael Shea of Santa Fe's Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and Gen. Melvin Montaño (ret.) of the New Mexico National Guard.

The Santa Fe protest is one of many such protests that seek to stem the epidemic of blasphemy that threatens to sweep the nation. Thousands of Catholics appeared for similar peaceful protests against the play Corpus Christi, the movie Dogma and other blasphemies.

"What makes this particular exhibit so horrendous,." Mr. Ritchie added.," is the fact that, on October 12, 1945, Pius XII proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe as Patroness of all the Americas and especially Mexican-Americans. It is hard to believe that she who has been so good to us is being publicly portrayed in such a horrible manner."


Rally Says Keep Blasphemy Out!

Nearly one thousand Catholics gather to defend the honor of the Blessed Mother.

The Saturday morning rally began with a warm welcome and Marian hymns sung before a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The program included rosaries, prayers, and speakers who addressed the crowd and applauded efforts to combat blasphemy.

"This protest is truly inspiring. Your presence here truly proclaims 'Santa Fe' - our Holy Faith. It is so wonderful to see Catholics willing to rally around the Blessed Mother wherever she is so callously attacked," said TFP vice president Thomas J. McKenna, addressing the crowd that filled the museum parking lot before him. Banners, homemade signs, and pictures made the protest particularly visible.
"It is ironic that at a museum of folk art that claims to represent popular culture, they choose to exhibit a blasphemous piece which is neither popular nor cultural." Mr. McKenna added.


Letters and Prayers

Tens of thousands from across the country will not attend the rally but promised their prayers and sacrifices. Inspiring letters of support were received from Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City, Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford (IL), Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Bishop Thomas L. Dupré of Springfield (MA), Mother Angelica of the EWTN television network, Congressman John Hostettler of Indiana, Joseph Scheidler of the Pro Life Action League, Mary Anne Hackett of Catholic Citizens of Illinois and others.
Mexican Cardinal Carrera wrote: "We cannot keep silent nor be indifferent before such a monstrous attack on the religious convictions and sentiments of our Mexican people who are mostly Catholic. It seems to us to be deeply lamented that in the name of culture and freedom in your country, our culture should be attacked at its very root: the evangelization of our peoples in such an outstanding fashion by the Guadalupe event."
Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Santa Fe archdiocese commented in a recent article addressing the blasphemy: "As Archbishop of Santa Fe, I certainly find it offensive that the Catholic symbol of Guadalupe has been so disrespectfully treated."

Folk artists from Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Albuquerque protest against counterfeit folk art at the museum.

"I hope and pray that the Rally will be a great success," wrote Bishop Gracida, "and that all who participate in it will be blessed by God for their efforts."
"How utterly brutish it is of the museum's directors to revile an image so sacred in the esteem of the very people whom they serve," commented Bishop Doran.
Fr. John Trigilio of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy wrote that "to be silent or to do nothing when God and all things holy are being attacked is to be in darkness." Mother Angelica also sent words of encouragement reminding people that "It [the protest] is about giving Our Lady the comfort of knowing that she is the Mother of children who truly love her!"
Congressman John Hostettler wrote that he "is appalled and saddened that this is even an issue in today's culture." Paul Weyrich of Washington's Free Congress Foundation wrote: "You have my full support in your effort to counter this horrible sacrilege."


Enough is Enough

Many of those in the crowd received invitations from volunteers who passed them out on the streets or after Sunday Mass. The American TFP also mobilized its Fatima Proclaimer volunteer network to pass out its Enough is Enough! protest postcards nationwide. Catholics from all walks of life worked together to bring this rally to a successful conclusion.
With a rash of blasphemies eroding the Faith, the Santa Fe protest makes a positive statement by showing others that Catholics can stand firm in the cultural fray. Nothing so discourages blasphemy than opposition. Nothing attracts more the blessings of God that to have Catholics rise up in defense of the honor of Jesus, Mary, and Holy Church when attacked by blasphemy.

For more pictures of the rally, go to
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6. Write, fax or call the museum at: The Museum of International Folk Art, P.O. Box 2087, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-2087. Phone: (505) 476-1200, Fax:(505) 476-1300. E-mail:
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