Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
Citing the “alleged crimes” of a variety of world leaders, Brazilian “artist” Gil Vicente’s drawings of himself killing different leaders opened at the Sao Paulo Art Biennial on Saturday.
To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first time that artwork - if you can call it that - depicting the assassination of the Pope has ever gone on display publicly. It’s offensive, outrageous, and hate-filled.
Vicente’s charcoal drawing of the Pope shows him confronting Pope Benedict XVI with a pistol. The Pope has his hands upturned.
As part of the series, Vicente is shown assassinating a total of nine world leaders, including former U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Britain’s Queen.
“Because they kill so many other people, it would be a favour to kill them, understand?” said Vicente of his series, titled Inimigos (Enemies). “Why don’t people in power and in the elite die?”
The Brazilian bar association has demanded that the images be removed from the exhibition, suggesting that they encourage violent crime.
“A fundamental quality of our institution is curatorial independence and freedom of expression,” said the organizers of the exhibit. “The works exhibited do not reflect the opinion of the curators nor of the Biennial Foundation.”
Whether or not the artwork reflects the opinion of the curators, it demonstrates a deep-seated hatred of those in authority, the Holy Father and everything that He stands for. It’s yet another example of the outright hatred that exists towards the Pope and the Catholic Church, and it reminds me of the sort of anti-Jewish artwork and editorial cartoons that were common in Germany prior to the Nazis taking power. That level of hatred, whether artistic or not, is always wrong.