Vatican Shuts Down Art Opening Featuring Gay Couples Kissing In Cathedrals

A gallery in Rome has removed photographs of same-sex couples kissing in churches after the Vatican threatened legal action.

1. A photography series by Gonzalo Orquín was to be displayed at an opening at Rome’s Galleria L’Opera last Wednesday.

2. The series features couples, both gay and straight, kissing in various churches in Rome.

3. But if you went to see his “Trialogo” exhibition, this is what you would find:

4. The photos were covered after Orquín received a letter from the Vatican threatening legal action over the series.

Osservatore Romano / Reuters

5. Vicariate spokesman Claudio Tanturri told The Local the photos infringed upon “the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith.”

Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual’s religious feeling and the function of places of worship. Therefore photos that are not suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith.

6. All but one of the 16 photographs were taken in churches in Rome.

Gonzalo Orquín

7. “I didn’t do it to provoke the Church, I did it to demonstrate a union between God and two people,” Orquín said in defense of his work.

Gonzalo Orquín

8. After receiving the letter and speaking with lawyers, Orquín covered the photos for “security reasons.”

Orquín, who is openly gay himself and has lived in Rome for nearly eight years, said he finds Italy to be “a very homophobic county”.

Gonzalo Orquín

9. Until the gallery’s lawyers and the Vatican come to an agreement over the series, they will remain covered.

Orquín has heard from many organizations around the world saying they would gladly show his art and take on the Church’s threats.

Gonzalo Orquín

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at
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