ROME — This weekend’s Gay Pride parade in Cremona, Italy, featured a topless model dressed as the Virgin Mary, sparking intense national debate on social media and elsewhere.
In a move many Christians called “blasphemous”, marchers paraded the mannequin decorated in BDSM-studded black leather and topped with a blue Marian veil with halo.
“A blasphemous and despicable attack, clearly directed against the faith of all Christians! wrote Matteo Fraioli, Italian campaign manager at CitizenGOit, who protested the local mayor’s use of public funds to fund the show.
Fraioli also pointed to the coincidence that on the same day as the Cremona Pride Parade, more than 50 Christians were brutally massacred in the Church of San Francis in Owo, Nigeria during the Pentecost celebration.
“We can no longer tolerate this type of demonstration with the clear intention of wanting to offend and make fun of the faith of millions of people, the same faith for which millions of Christians are persecuted, kidnapped, abused and killed every year in the world. Fraioli wrote in an open letter to the mayor of Cremona, Gianluca Galimberti.
Along the same lines, Giovanni Arvedi, a well-known Italian steel entrepreneur and sports executive, insisted that the distortion of cherished Christian symbols “has nothing to do with the legitimate protection of rights and the fight against corruption. ‘homophobia and discrimination’, adding that the use of such images is deaf because they offend the sensibilities of others.
Italian Lega party leader Matteo Salvini said on Sunday that “offending the faith, culture and sensibilities of millions of Italians has nothing to do with pursuing LGBTQ rights etc… but is than a display of ignorance and arrogance”.
Mayor Galimberti defended the parade, which he attended, saying that while “some may not share certain ideas that may emerge from this demonstration”, the purpose of the parade is to promote open sharing of different ideas.
Last week, Jesuit Father James Martin said Christian churches have a special duty to celebrate Gay Pride because much of the anti-gay violence has been “religiously motivated”, adding that for Catholics, participating in Pride events in June is a way to live out the Catechism’s call to treat homosexuals with respect.