An Australian Catholic boys school has covered up a statue of a saint giving bread to a boy after its design led some to label it “suggestive.”
Blackfriar’s Priory School, outside of Adelaide, put a black tarp over the statue of St. Martin de Porres, which soon became the subject of controversy after being unveiled last week.
The saint, a member of the Dominican religious order in late 1500s and early 1600s Peru known for social justice work, is depicted holding the loaf of bread close to his groin.
Questions about how the design was approved prompted the cover up and a statement from the school, which educates students from an early learning center through the 12th grade.
“The two-dimensional concept plans for the statue were viewed and approved by the Executive Team in May but upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the Executive to be potentially suggestive. As a consequence, the statue was immediately covered and a local sculptor has been commissioned to re-design it,” Principal Simon Cobiac said.
“The School apologises for any concerns and publicity generated by this matter and is taking action to substantially alter the statue.”
Cobiac added that the statue was supposed to represent de Porres’ work “for the poor and downtrodden of the 16th Century.”