reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Catholic Church displays "God is Trans" Exhibit
Archdiocese Investigating Catholic Church's 'God Is Trans' Exhibit
The Archdiocese of New York is investigating one of its parishes after reports of a new art exhibit surfaced on Monday.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan surprised parishioners when it displayed the three-painting work by artist Adah Unachukwu, which depicts the spiritual journey of an LGBTQ+ person. The display, titled "God Is Trans: A Queer Spiritual Journey," isn't the first time the church has publicly welcomed members of the LGBTQ+ community, but the exhibit is now a concern for the archdiocese.
Nationally, the LGBTQ+ community is regularly in the news as politicians debate issues relating to gender-affirming care, gender identity and inclusion. The topics are often debated in public schools and have been taken up in some churches as well. Some Catholic churches offer a safe place for LGBTQ+ parishioners, while others follow the Vatican's view that gender is assigned at birth and cannot be changed.
Parishioners have expressed mixed opinions about the exhibit, according to a New York Post story, which called the church "very liberal." A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York told Newsweek that it was unaware of the exhibit until alerted by the media and is now looking into it.
"We had no knowledge of it beforehand," the spokesperson said. "If media reports are accurate, then we would have concerns. We are investigating and looking to speak with the pastor of the parish to get more information."
Newsweek reached out for comment to the Church of St. Paul the Apostle by phone and through an online contact form.
On its website, the church said it offers a ministry and outreach program for LGBTQ+ parishioners called "Out at St. Paul."
The work is divided into three paintings titled "Sacrifice," "Identity" and "Communion." According to descriptions adorning the exhibit, the "Sacrifice" painting is about the shedding of an old life to focus on one's spiritual needs. "Identity" is intended to evoke questions from the viewer, such as "What does holiness look like?," "What does your god look like?" and "Are these two portrayals that can be merged?"
"Communion" is concerned with "placing God and the mortal on the same plane to speak to one another," according to the description.
Responses from parishioners have varied from angry to supportive, according to the Post's story. The newspaper reported that several parishioners said that the church should not promote the topic. Others were supportive and said the church's liberal views were the reason they attended.