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Gay images censored after Vatican’s legal threat

Gonzalo Orquín received a letter from the Vicariate of Rome

A Spanish artist whose images of gay couples embracing in Rome’s churches have angered the Vatican says he now plans to show the controversial photographs abroad. Gonzalo Orquín hoped to unveil his 16-piece “Si Quiero” series at Galleria L’Opera in Rome late last month, but says that the threat of legal action from the Catholic Church prompted him to cover up the images.

The artist says that the Vicariate of Rome, which runs the diocese of Rome on behalf of the Pope, sent a letter demanding that the works be withdrawn. “The gallery received a letter threatening legal action if it showed the images. The letter said they had been taken without [the Vicariate’s] permission, and that the attitude in them was not appropriate to places of worship,” he says. The gallery decided to drape the photographs in black sheeting.

A spokesman for the Vicariate says: “The images could harm the religious sentiment of the faithful.” Orquín, who still hopes to show the works in Italy, says: “It will not be easy… it may be easier [to display the works] abroad.”