On Wednesday, a Catholic school in Adelaide, Australia, unveiled a new statue of a saint. Mere hours later, they had to cover it up — because it looked like the saint was revealing himself to a small boy.
The statue depicts a saint giving a small boy a loaf of bread, but the loaf is elongated and he holds it right between his legs. Blackfriars Priory School, which commissioned the statue, claimed the original design did not suggest any such complications.
“You may have seen media reports today of the recent placement of a statue of St Martin de Porres,” Blackfriars Principal Simon Cobiac said in a statement. “The statue was sculpted in Vietnam by the same sculptor who created the St Dominic statue on the front lawn of our School.”
“The two-dimensional concept plans for the statue were viewed and approved by the Executive Team in May but upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the Executive to be potentially suggestive,” Cobiac explained. “As a consequence, the statue was immediately covered and a local sculptor has been commissioned to re-design it.”
“The school apologises for any concerns and publicity generated by this matter and is taking action to substantially alter the statue,” the principal said.
Early reports suggested the statue was of St. Dominic, but Cobiac revealed it is “a famous depiction of the tireless work of St Martin de Porres, a Dominican brother, for the poor and downtrodden of the 16th Century.”
St. Martin de Porres lived in Peru from 1579 to 1639, working on behalf of the poor. He established an orphanage and a children’s hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, fasting and abstaining from meat. The Dominican brother reportedly performed many miracles, including levitation, being in two places at once, miraculous knowledge, performing instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals.
Pope John XXIII canonized de Porres in 1962. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony. It is truly a tragedy that this kind of misstep would occur with his statue.
The school originally wrapped a black tarp around the statue, but later replaced it with a tarp in the shape of a box. One user on Twitter quipped, “Burqa is gone now guys.”
— Battling Lefty (@murzo_4) November 22, 2017
With current events surrounding sexual assault, this case seems particularly unfortunate. Blackfriars should alter the statue as quickly as possible.
Click “Load More” to see the picture of the statue, which some may find disturbing.