Catholic University replaces stolen icon with copy after racist comments – Catholic Philly


WASHINGTON (CNS) – The president of the Catholic University of America said the institution’s law school replaced an icon of Mary holding Jesus that was stolen after some complained that the image of Christ looked like George Floyd, a black man killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis in May 2020.

“Our law school has always viewed the figure as Jesus,” John Garvey, president of the university, said in a November 24 letter.

No one had complained before the attacks circulating about him via social networks. But the messages began to elicit “a substantial number of emails and phone calls” telling the university the image was “blasphemous because they viewed it as deifying or canonizing George Floyd,” said Garvey’s letter to the university community.

The icon, depicting a dark-skinned Mary holding a dark-skinned Jesus, had been at the entrance to the Mary Mirror of Justice Chapel at the university’s Columbus School of Law since February. Just before Thanksgiving, some groups began to draw attention to her, triggering petitions for her removal.

The icon depicts a scene similar to Michelangelo’s Renaissance-era Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

“Some of the comments we received were thoughtful and reasonable. Some were offensive and racist. Most of the criticism has come from people unrelated to the university, ”Garvey said in the letter.

The university responded to some of the “reasonable criticisms,” he added, and said it was policy “throughout my tenure as president not to cancel speakers or to prevent members. of the community to speak “.

He said the Catholic University’s Public Security Department was investigating the theft of the icon.

“We replaced the photo with an identical, albeit smaller, copy that hung in our campus ministry office,” Garvey said. “Our ‘no cancellation’ policy doesn’t just apply to administration. We hope to continue to develop a culture on campus that engages in thoughtful dialogue and debate, and not the kind of bullying tactics embodied by this theft.

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