Artist loses basilica job after criticising Catholic anti-gay marriage campaign

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An artist who had planned to create a sculpture from DVDs send out by Minnesota’s Catholic bishops said she was suspended from her position as the Basilica of St. Mary’s artist in residence. Lucinda Nayor’s project will take anti-gay marriage DVDs sent out to Catholics in advance of the November election and create a message of “creativity and hope.” While Naylor faces a setback at the basilica, she got a boost on Monday when other groups including one called Return The DVD, joined up with her project. 


Naylor doesn’t want to dwell on the suspension from a position she’s held at the downtown Minneapolis basilica for 15 years, but says attention to it could help with her project. “It will draw more attention to the DVD to art project,” she told the Minnesota Independent on Sunday.


“Disappointed as I am by my suspension, I do not want to overly focus on it,” she wrote on her blog. “My primary focus remains on making a great piece of art.”


She said she was “startled and humbled to find that I join the ranks of people before me who been silenced or ousted one by one for disagreeing with the church.”


She added, “Maybe in 500 years, I, like Galileo, will get my suspension lifted.”


Naylor holds no ill will towards her church, however. “The Catholic Church is full of wonderful, loving people. The DVD to ART project is about highlighting those folks who say, ‘Yes, let’s come together and welcome everyone.’”


Naylor has also found drop-off sites for the DVDs to be used in her sculpture.


Minneapolis organizations providing drop boxes include Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ, Minnehaha United Church of Christ in the Longfellow neighborhood, Parkway United Church of Christ on Minneapolis’ north side and OutFront Minnesota in south Minneapolis.


Meanwhile, ReturnTheDVDs.org is offering to donate to another Catholic charity, St. Stephens Human Services, for every DVD that is received. That group is made up of “Catholics who are concerned about the priorities of the leaders in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.” It says it will be “distributing 400,000 DVDs on the single subject of same-sex marriage shortly before the upcoming election, reflects misguided priorities and strays from the essential teachings of Christ.”