Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan on Our Lady of Guadalupe Portrayal
Office of Communications
Celine Baca Radigan
4000 Saint Joseph Place NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120-1714
505.831.8180, Fax 831.8161,

ALBUQUERQUE -  Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan will conduct a press conference today, Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at 3:30 PM at the Catholic Center, 4000 St. Joseph Place NW to comment on the New Mexico State Museum of International Folk Artâs decision to continue to display the ãpathetic pictureä of Our Lady of Guadalupe.   

He states that he is not surprised at the Board’s decision; however, he will appeal to the people to remain calm in lieu of this disappointing decision.  Tax-paying Catholics and non-Catholics alike have spoken; their request for removal of our Lady’s disrespectful portrayal has fallen on deaf ears. 

In March 2001, Archbishop Sheehan led a Marian pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes where millions of people go each year to honor the Blessed Mother. After the pilgrimage, he stated  

It was quite a blow to return to the Archdiocese to find out about the offensive display.  To depict the Virgin Mary in a floral bikini held aloft by a bare breasted angel is to be insulting, even sacrilegious to the many thousands of New Mexicans who have deep religious devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The picture does not show respect for the Virgin Mary as the artist claims.  Instead of showing her as the innocent Mother of Jesus, she is shown as a tart or a street woman, not the Mother of God!

I wish that those who want to paint controversial art would find their own symbols to trash and leave the Catholic ones alone.  To place such an offensive picture in the museum shows insensitivity to a large segment of the population and imprudence in the administration of the state funded institution.  Such a picture has no place in a tax supported public museum.

I have always been a strong supporter of the arts.  The Church has a long history of supporting artistic works.  There should be respect for religious people and people of good will who are offended by the insulting portrayal of Our Lady.  

Can you imagine someone taking a picture of your own dear mother, or grandmother, and altering it so that she is displayed in such a way?  I am sure you would not stand for it.  You would feel outraged and be moved to defend her honor.  As Archbishop of Santa Fe, I too must defend the honor of our Mother, the Mother of God.  

Archbishop Sheehan asks that the faithful join him in special prayer to honor Our Lady of Peace Sunday, June 24, 3:30 p.m. at the Annual Procession from St Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe to the Rosario Chapel, Paseo del Peralta and Guadalupe, Santa Fe. NM.