ROME — This weekend’s Gay Pride parade in Cremona, Italy, featured a bare-breasted mannequin dressed as the Virgin Mary, sparking an intense national debate on social media and elsewhere.
In a move that many Christians have decried as “blasphemous,” marchers paraded the mannequin decorated with BDSM studded black leather and topped with a blue Marian veil complete with halo.“A blasphemous and ignoble attack, clearly aimed at the faith of all Christians!” wrote Matteo Fraioli, Italian Campaign Director at CitizenGOit, who protested the local mayor’s use of public funds to finance the spectacle.
Fraioli also underscored the coincidence that on the same day as the Cremona Pride Parade, more than 50 Christians were brutally slaughtered in the church of San Francis in Owo, Nigeria, during the celebration of Pentecost.
“We can no longer tolerate this type of demonstration with the clear intention of wanting to offend and deride the faith of millions of people, the same faith for which millions of Christians are persecuted, kidnapped, abused and killed every year in the world,” Fraioli wrote in an open letter to the mayor of Cremona, Gianluca Galimberti.In a similar vein, Giovanni Arvedi, a well-known Italian steel entrepreneur and sports executive, insisted that the distortion of cherished Christian symbols “has nothing to do with the legitimate protection of rights and the fight against homophobia and discrimination,” adding that the use of such images is tone-deaf because they offend the sensibilities of others.
The leader of Italy’s Lega party, Matteo Salvini, declared Sunday that “offending the faith, culture, and sensitivity of millions of Italians has nothing to do with the pursuit of LGBTQ rights etc… but is just an exhibition of ignorance and arrogance.”
Mayor Galimberti defended the parade, which he attended, asserting that while “some may not share certain ideas that may emerge from this demonstration,” the point of the parade is to promote an open sharing of differing ideas.
Last week, Jesuit Father James Martin said that Christian churches have a special duty to celebrate Gay Pride, since much anti-gay violence has been “motivated by religion,” adding that for Catholics, participating in Pride events during June is one way to live out the Catechism’s call to treat homosexuals with respect.