Artist Abel Azcona cleared of blasphemy by a judge in Spain

Artist Abel Azcona cleared of blasphemy by a judge in Spain November 21, 2016

Last year performance artist Abel Azcona horrified Catholics in Pamplona, Spain, when he used 242 stolen consecrated hosts to spell out the the word ‘pederastia‘ at an exhibition he mounted in a city gallery to highlight the Church’s systematic rape of children.
According to this report, Azcona procured the Catholic crackers by pretending to receive Holy Communion at mass.
The exhibition also contained a series of photos titled “Amen”, which depict Azcona taking hosts during mass and placing them on the ground. This was meant to honour those who were kidnapped and killed under the three-decade dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which lasted until his death in 1975.
Christian Lawyers Association spokesperson Polonia Catellanos told the Catholic News Agency that the association has filed a lawsuit against Azcona for “an offence against religious sentiments and desecration”, which is outlawed under Articles 524 and 525 of the Spanish Penal Code.
Azcona, an outspoken critic of religion, was quoted as saying:

Religion is at the same level as cancer or AIDS, and in fact has killed more people than these better-known diseases.

This report says:

An equal opportunity insulter of religion, Azcona also created the controversial ‘Eating a Koran’ video in which he is shown tearing up a Koran and then eating it, page by page. For that presentation, he received death threats.

The artist, who is gay, was subsequently arrested naked on a street in Pamplona.
Well, The Friendly Atheist Hermant Mehta reported at the weekend that Azcona has now been cleared of:

Treating something sacred without due respect or using it for profane purposes.

But a judge ruled that Azcona made use of the hosts:

Discreetly, without his conduct being able to be characterised as disrespectful, offensive or irreverent.

The exhibition of the artwork, the judge ruled:

Does not constitute derision of the beliefs, rites or ceremonies of the Catholic Church nor is it an affront to those who profess or practice said beliefs.

That didn’t satisfy the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers, however, and they plan to appeal the decision and is prepared:

To go to the highest court necessary in the face of what is becoming a campaign of serious offenses against the Christian faith and religious freedom.

Mehta commented:

This is absurd. Azcona’s artwork was no more offensive to Catholics than me saying I reject their theology. What’s sacred to them is a cracker to us. And an artist’s views shouldn’t be debated in a court of law, no matter the country.
It wasn’t illegal to accept a wafer in Church, and what people do with those wafers outside of Church is their own business, even if you find it offensive.

He could rip pages out of a Bible, burn a Qur’an, do a happy dance for Satan, and all of it should be within his rights as an artist.
This isn’t a case about blasphemy. This is a case about Christians who can’t accept people not buying into their bizarre beliefs. That’s their problem, though, and no one else deserves to be punished for it.

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  • Bill Bonk

    This is real dark ages stuff … when the pious ruled Europe with totalitarian extreme violence, beggared society into illiteracy and evoked supernatural forces to reward doubt and disbelief with terrifying punishments of eternal banishment to fire and brimstone. And it lingers to this day. Any country that has the “offence” of blasphemy on is statute books is still under the influence of the pious. Primitive and unacceptable in this supposed modern age. With islam threatening to claw the world back into violence and destruction its time for civilised countries to kill off theocracy and all the stupid inhuman behaviours that theocracy needs to thrive.

  • Laura Roberts

    I would love it if someone would take a consecrated wafer and perform DNA sequencing on it (better yet, take samples before and after consecration). Surely they believe transubstantiation really does transform the wafer? And surely the church would be interested to know what Jesus’ DNA looks like?

  • Lucy

    I saw a TV programme a while back, about the training of priests. One man was practising the mass, so put on all the dresses, then did the words and actions. ‘Of course’ he said, ‘this is just a meaningless act, as I am not yet a priest, so no transubstantiation has taken place.’ Question: How could he tell?

  • Newspaniard

    If he lived in the UK, there is no doubt that he would be arrested and gaoled. The new laws for these offences, which replaced our blasphemy laws, are far more draconian than (even) the Spanish ones. Thank you Mrs. May.

  • AgentCormac

    Ah, that old one-sided ‘religious freedom’ chestnut again. Either everyone can be free to express their views regarding faith (including those of us who aren’t street preachers/pastors/general bloody nuisances, part of a smartly dressed couple handing out copies of Watchtower,etc.), or no one can. You can’t have it both ways.

  • barriejohn

    Is nothing sacred?
    Laura: Interesting idea. If we can’t get hold of a “consecrated” wafer, maybe we could analyze the shit of someone who had partaken, to find out whether the alien DNA of the Baby Jesus was to be found in their faecal matter? If so, I wonder whether we could clone the Miracle Worker, and thus solve the world’s food and water problems at a stroke. The possibilities seem limitless!

  • barriejohn

    Oh, shit (so to speak), it’s been tried (but on wafers!):
    Comment: It’s statistically likely that some Jesus molecules (if he existed) were in the wafer.
    Hmmm…that sounds like a bit of a copout to me.

  • Bill Bonk

    Can I, a British Citizen, be jailed for saying that the rcc is a global crime syndicate involved in child rape, involvement in genocide, incitment of hatred, trafficing children, violence, money laundering, perjury, spreading aids, overpopulation, lies, blackmail, gerrymandering, mysogeny, denial of the rights of women, witch killing, protection rackets, perversion of justice, false accounting, larceny, discrimination against gays, discrimination against women, antisemitism, deception, extraction of money under false pretences and generally fucking everything up for centuries and continues to do so today.

  • Bill Bonk

    Not that I would ever make such accusations of course. I was just quetioning those crimes in which, I heard, that the rcc was implicated in.

  • Bill Bonk

    And look at this … a small fish has been fried here just to make it look as if the pious are doing something about sexual deviancy and priestly child rape … but what about bringing some of the bosses to feel the full weight of the law.
    Its like BP sacking the cook on an oil rig instead of prosecuting the guys responsible for the process planning and management of the oil rig safety and pollution control after a major enviromental disasterous oil spill.

  • Broga

    Newspaniard: I don’t think those who want free speech can expect any support from the religious Mrs May.

  • AgentCormac

    Apologies for going OT. It seems some members of the congregation at the CofE church of Warblington with Emsworth walked out of last Sunday’s service in protest because their vicar has been suspended by the church for indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl.Apparently he’s a lovely man and they should jolly well leave him alone.

  • AgentCormac

    Ooops! Looks like Bill Bonk just beat me to that one.

  • Paul

    You hit the nail on the head. I totally agree.
    This is the whole religious problem – they want freedom but not freedom to be criticised.

  • Broga

    “but the Church also preaches a message of grace, forgiveness and pastoral care.” This is the usual get out clause and it covers everything.

  • L.Long

    One of the things that always puzzled me as an alterboy was …if the host is so sacred then why does it always end up coming out my arse which is an unholey hole!?!?!?!

  • Dionigi

    personly I would put him in jail for pretending to be an artist.