Anaheim / Religion & Spirituality / Western Religions
LA artist's Our Lady of Guadalupe sparking new protest for its alleged blasphemy


April 15th, 2011 11:05 am PT
richard sikorski
Orange County Roman Catholic Examiner


Is depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) as a naked young women with roses covering her privates really art? It's creator, LA artist Alma Lopez seems to think so. As does the city museums that are exhibiting her work.

As expected, many Catholics don't.

A thousand gathered in front of Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art to express their outrage when it was on exhibit there. Continued objection led to its eventual censorship.

Now that the piece is on display in Oakland Catholic activist groups in northern California are asking their brothers and sister in the south to join them in protest.

One group, America Needs Fatima, is urging California Catholics to express their outrage by email, phone or letters. It's targeting at least 65,000 individual efforts in this current campaign.

Defenders of Lopez's art feel that the booming Latino population in this country has moved the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has moved outside the realm of devotion and into popular culture. You can find the icon on everything from T-shirts and tattoos to candles and air fresheners, making it fair game for Lopez to use it to represent her identity as a Chicana, Lesbian and woman. (As a high school teacher here in Orange County I see gang members sporting OLG tattoos and other teenagers, who know nothing about the Catholic Faith, commonly using rosaries as necklaces.)

Objecting Catholics feel that Lopez's depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe is sacrilegious, if not blasphemous, for someone considered the patron of the Americas. Time and time again, you hear statements like: "there are some places you don't go, and disrespect for a central figure of the Catholic Faith is one of them."

Lopez's exhibit is on display in Oakland until May 29. (What's not pictured in the photo in this article is the "topless, bare breasted" angel at her feet.)

Catholic bashing seems to becoming more and more commonplace in today's entertainment, art and media. Not long ago Lindsay Lohan donned the cover of a international fashion magazine, posing a as a crucified Christ, complete with stigmata. Jerry Springer-The Opera has more incidents of alleged blasphemy than you can count on one hand.


Rick is a lifelong Catholic, and a product of Catholic education. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State's School of Communications. After a successful career in advertising and marketing management, he responded to Pope John Paul's call to evangelization and became active in the lay Catholic apostolate, helping to pioneer Basilica Press, Ascension Press, and Envoy, the award-winning Catholic apologetic magazine (of which he is a contributing writer.) He established one of the first Catholic information portals,, back in the early 90s.