You may have heard about the highly offensive move of the Milwaukee Art Museum. They displayed a “portrait” of Benedict XVI made from colored condoms. That’s just plain nasty.
The Vicar General of the Diocese of Madison, Msgr. James Bartylla, wrote a letter to the Museum. He shared it with me. I have his permission to share it with you. He also wrote:
[F]eel free to tell you readers that I encourage them to write to the Milwaukee Art Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org) to communicate their displeasure, with civility and respect (and with appropriate vigor and articulation), at this “artistic” display of such poor taste.
Here is his letter:
Dear Milwaukee Art Museum (cc: Communication Director – Archdiocese of Milwaukee),
As a priest of the Diocese of Madison, the decision by the Milwaukee Art Museum to acquire and prominently display a controversial portrait of His Holiness Benedict XVI fashioned from 17,000 colored condoms is very offensive to civility and decorum for the general public and is profoundly disrespectful and even blasphemous to the Catholic faithful.
If a piece were as offensive to other faith traditions or communities would it be equally tolerated by you?
I firmly stand behind Most Reverend Jerome Listecki, Archbishop of Milwaukee, in seeing your decision as insulting and callous. I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I want you to know that I will not attend the Milwaukee Art Museum, and I will advocate to others not to attend the museum and not to subscribe to memberships to the museum. I will advocate to others to notify you of their extreme displeasure at your poor decision.
If you remove this item not only from display but also from the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum and do not forward it for public display or collection elsewhere, I will reconsider my decision in order to allow you a chance in justice to rectify your poor decision for the common good.
I await your reply.
Respectfully, Monsignor James Bartylla
Okay, folks… adopt this strategy and share on the interwebs. Let’s get something going.