St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Manhattan revealed a new exhibit titled "God is Trans: A Queer Spiritual Journey," prompting the Archdiocese of New York to investigate the artwork. Breitbart News reports that the colorful exhibit was a creation of artist Adah Unachukwu.
Unachukwu said the artwork represents how faith and gender identity intersect, mapping out the spiritual journey LGBTQ church members undergo. It divides the journey into three points: Sacrifice, identity, and communication.
"The painting Sacrifice and its complementary act in the film speak to the need to shed an old life and personhood to be able to focus on your spiritual need. There is no devil, just past selves," the exhibit caption reads.
The artwork allegedly upset some churchgoers, who felt forced to accept the idea that God is transgender. One member spoke out and said they don't feel a church should be promoting the idea that God is confused about his gender. It seems to go against the idea that God is "all-knowing and alluding to the notion that God condones being confused about your gender."
"It seems like they are trying to force the agenda on others," another church member explained. "You can't put this out on the altar and then hide. That's what gets the church in trouble."
The priest of the church, Father Jesuit James Martin, said the Church of St Paul the Apostle is one of the most vibrant Catholic LGBT ministries in the country, perhaps the world" and is "a model for many parishes."
Martin is a celebrated LGBTQ parishioner and believes the program could "normalize" transgender people in the ministry, reaching new LGBTQ church members they may not find otherwise. One of Martin's campaigns was called "Mass Pride," a program designed to normalize LGBTQ church members and leaders.
In 2019, the Vatican released a report addressing transgenderism. Fox News reports that the document, titled Male and Female, He Created Them, stated one's gender cannot be changed. Any claims to the contrary are not "based on the truths of existence and directly contradict the story of creation."
Archdiocese of New York's spokesperson said they learned of St. Paul's exhibit through social media reports. They are investigating and say they did not know about the exhibit until church members spoke to the media about it.
"If media reports are accurate, then we would have concerns. We are investigating and looking to speak with the pastor of the parish to get more information," the spokesperson explained.
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