Breathtaking Disrespect: Pope-Emeritus Benedict Portrayed in Condoms

I’m speechless. 

In a convergence of chutzpah and bad taste, Shorewood (WI) artist Niki Johnson has used 17,000 multi-colored condoms to create a larger-than-life portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  She has titled the creation “Eggs Benedict”.

Just like the fawning ministers in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, modern-day art critics have reacted to the art piece with enthusiasm.  Critics from the United States and around the world have called the work, which measures 80 x 60 x 12 inches and is encased in Plexiglass, a “commanding and thought-provoking work of serious art”.

Joseph Pabst, heir to the brewing company fortune who opened his home in 2010 for an LGBT film/video festival, has bid $20,000 for the work, which is currently on exhibit at Milwaukee’s Portrait Society Gallery.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale will support local AIDS groups.

“Eggs Benedict” is Niki Johnson’s response to Pope Benedict’s statements during his 2009 trip to Africa, where he warned believers that the use of prophylactics contributes to spreading the disease of HIV/AIDS, rather than preventing it.  Johnson, clearly ignorant of the Church’s teaching on the beauty of human sexuality, nonetheless felt qualified to address the topic–calling the Holy Father “irresponsible to public health.”

According to the Wisconsin Gazette:

In addition to falling within the artistic tradition of stimulating debate, “Eggs Benedict” also fits within Johnson’s personal artistic tradition. She’s often used public figures as subject matter in ironic ways, and she’s created numerous works using parallel techniques.

For instance, Johnson created a series of needlepoint works depicting women’s breasts. The process of creation involved juxtaposing a medium associated with traditional femininity and subject matter considered taboo by traditional women. In a similar spirit, she created a series of cross-stitched portraits of celebrities such as Paris Hilton.

Read more about it in the Wisconsin Gazette.

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Oh, by the way—In case you hadn’t noticed, I am really disgusted by all the Pope-and-condom stories popping up; I hope this, my second blog post on the topic, is the last report I ever offer on the topic. 


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • JD

    Thank you, Kathy, for showing your disgust at such an offensive piece of trash. It amazes me how many people go through this life with such hatred for all things good…and can only spew their anti-church, anti-God, anti-Christian language. Several people have questioned your article with anti-Benedict rhetoric on Facebook..
    It must be awful to be so filled with hatred.
    Keep up the good work, Kathy!

  • JD

    Thanks, Kathy, for your passion and disgust in this matter. It’s amazing what is considered “art” in our country. In fact, the most outrageous it seems the more applauded it is. It’s funny but so many people are so ready to dump on church, religion, and God. I’m don’t know how they can live a positive, happy life when they are so filled with hatred.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Merwyn Haskett

    I was born, baptized and raised Catholic. The reason I attend a different church and have severed all ties with the Vatican is because the “church’s teaching on the beauty of human sexuality” includes molesting children and covering it up at the highest levels. Not to mention spreading deadly misinformation on sexual health.

    • Amelia Wreford

      Where in the Catechism does it condone molesting children?

      • Merwyn Haskett

        I never said it was in the Catechism.

        • kathyschiffer

          Merwyn, your comment is truly offensive. It is true that some (a very small percentage of) priests have abused children. It is also true that some bishops, acting on the advice of the psychologists at the time, believed that the priests could be cured of their sinful behavior, and gave them the opportunity to continue their ministry as healthy ministers of the gospel.

          But the incidence of sexual aberrance is lower among Catholic clergy than among many other groups including teachers, coaches and camp counselors. The incidence is also lower than or comparable to that in other churches (probably including yours), but the Catholic Church is united and keeps records, so it’s possible to count the problems.

          I am truly sorry that the scandal caused you to leave the Church which was founded by Christ.

          • Merwyn Haskett

            My comment isn’t offensive. Trying to lessen the degree and number of abuse and cover-up is what’s offensive. Granted, this article wasn’t referring to that. However it did mention the spreading of scientifically false health information (condoms “helping to spread” HIV) which is not only offensive but deadly.

            I did not leave the church which was founded by Christ, I left the uppercase letter c Catholic church. I still receive the body and blood every Sunday.

    • JD

      “The reason I attend a different church and have severed all ties with the Vatican is because “church’s teaching on the beauty of human sexuality includes molesting children and covering it up at the highest levels. ”
      Seriously, Merwyn….you know that is not the reason you have left the Catholic Church. If you personally had suffered physical or sexual abuse because of a priest, I would believe you and truly hurt for you. For whatever reason, you have decided to leave the Catholic Church. I wish you peace… just be clear about what has caused you to leave,.

      • Merwyn Haskett

        So you know me and what goes on inside my mind, huh? Who are you to tell me that wasn’t my reason?