“Eggs Benedict” art installation portrays former pope using 17,000 condoms

Last week, the Milwaukee Art Museum unveiled “Eggs Benedict,” a depiction of former Pope Benedict XVI made entirely out of colorful, high-end condoms.

The installation is meant to highlight the former pontiff’s assertion that condoms were not the answer to the spread of HIV and AIDS.

According to the museum’s director, Daniel Keegan, the installation was scheduled to be unveiled later this year, but was moved up due to overwhelming interest from museum guests:

We’ve had thousands of people come to the museum expecting to see the art work when the story first broke and have not been able to see it. And of course there have been many people who have been commenting about the work, primarily online, who are making decisions about the work without actually seeing it. So it just made sense. We thought to just put it out and let people decide for themselves.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki blasted the art installation in a blog post last month, rehashing common arguments as to religion’s privilege to curtail speech and artistic expression:

In the last few weeks, we have been confronted with Bruce Jenner who wishes to be Caitlyn Jenner and accepted as a woman, and a female director of the NAACP, who presents herself as an African American woman (however was born and raised in a Caucasian family). Now, the Milwaukee Art Museum – the Calatrava – accepted a work that fashions a portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI out of condoms and refers to it as art. What is similar in all these situations, is that they each rely on the notion of “radical individualism” based on personal freedom, that is exercised without license.

Observers gather around Eggs Benedict, screenshot via YouTube

Observers gather around Eggs Benedict, screenshot via YouTube

Now, I am all for freedom. Americans hold freedom sacred and the Church is for freedom. Remember, Jesus Christ died to make us free. But, freedom is never exercised in a vacuum. Freedom demands responsibility and that is a responsibility to truth, beauty and goodness (sorry, if I’m bringing the Ancient Greeks into the discussion, but it’s hard to ignore the obvious wisdom)…

…An artist who claims his or her work is some great social commentary and a museum that accepts it, insults a religious leader of a church, whose charitable outreach through its missionaries and ministers has eased the pain of those who suffer throughout the world, must understand the rejection of this local action by the believers who themselves have been insulted.

Of course, Archbishop Listecki misses the point entirely. Committed Catholics are supposed to be made to feel uncomfortable by the installation, as it calls their former leader out directly for supporting policies that are costing countless lives around the world. Regardless as to what you think about whether offense for offense’s sake should be put on display, this isn’t that. Bad ideas deserve ridicule, especially when that ridicule is used to encourage a reconsideration of the bad ideas in question.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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29 Responses to ““Eggs Benedict” art installation portrays former pope using 17,000 condoms”

  1. DoverBill says:

    “…based on personal freedom, that is exercised without license.”

    License from exactly whom, you or your sky fairy?

    Eat me!

  2. Jon Green says:

    Funny you should mention that…Archbishop “I’m all for freedom, but…” Listecki had to announce today that his archdiocese is going to pay out $21 million to its sex abuse victims: http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/archdiocese-settles-sexual-abuse-claims-for-21-million-b99542352z1-320651132.html

  3. nicho says:

    Yeah, there was that one mullah who banned snowmen.

  4. Doug105 says:

    Because too it has become an untouchable scared cow to many on the far left.

  5. Max_1 says:

    So, why target one particular faith, which is what your initial comment did?

  6. 2karmanot says:

    “Now, I am all for freedom.” ROTFL ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the red dress’ The archBS forgot to mention the deaths of hundreds of thousands and counting, not to mention a million or so orphans because: uncomfortable.

  7. olandp says:

    I’m partial to Der Popenfuhrer.

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  9. 1jetpackangel says:

    I thought it was Pope Luftwaffe, but I like yours better.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    The modern cult record for deaths for all people has to go the roman cult for their deliberate attempt to cause deaths by HIV and AIDS. “Shock at archbishop condom claim Condoms – The Catholic Church formally opposes any use of condoms – The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique has told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.

    Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected “in order to finish quickly the African people”. … The Catholic Church formally opposes any use of condoms, advising fidelity within marriage or sexual abstinence.

    Aids activists have been angered by the remarks, one calling them “nonsense”. “We’ve been using condoms for years now, and we still find them safe,” prominent Mozambican Aids activist Marcella Mahanjane told the BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7014335.stm

    There are a staggering 1.9 million AIDS orphans in South Africa and by 2015 the figure will stand at 5.7million, according to UNICEF. Nearly a fifth of South African children live in orphan-headed households. AFRICAN SOLUTIONS TO AFRICAN PROBLEMS https://africansolutions.org/?gclid=CPbl1MiKj8cCFU2TfgodAGADAA

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    All the cults are the enemies of humankind, and none of them are particularly worse than the other.

    muslims are responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds, maybe thousands of gay youth in Iran and also in Iraq since it was attacked by the US and the Secretaries of State of the Bush and Obama regimes didn’t raise a finger to stop it.

    The record for deaths as a whole has to go the roman cult for their deliberate attempt to cause deaths by HIV and AIDS. “Shock at archbishop condom claim
    Condoms – The Catholic Church formally opposes any use of condoms – The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique has told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.

    Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected “in order to finish quickly the African people”. … The Catholic Church formally opposes any use of condoms, advising fidelity within marriage or sexual abstinence.

    Aids activists have been angered by the remarks, one calling them “nonsense”. “We’ve been using condoms for years now, and we still find them safe,” prominent Mozambican Aids activist Marcella Mahanjane told the BBC.

  12. crazymonkeylady says:

    Let’s discuss priesthood pedophiles. How about BeneDICK shielding predators. Now THAT’S a story

  13. Houndentenor says:

    People from hierarchical structures often have a hard time with the idea that most everyone isn’t below them and must do whatever they say. I’m not Catholics, not even a theist. I have no fucks to give about what any religious leader has to say and I especially do not appreciate them telling me what I can and cannot read, watch or listen to.

  14. Houndentenor says:

    What the hell does Caitlyn Jenner have to do with this?

    If we’re going to introduce irrelevancies, how about let’s discuss the widespread rumors about Benedict keeping a male lover in the Vatican.

  15. 2patricius2 says:

    Religion. An excuse for getting away with beliefs and actions just cause they are ascribed to an unseen god. Sorry, Listecki. You believe and push things that are ridiculous, you can expect to be ridiculed.

  16. Doug105 says:

    That answer probably depends on which mullah you ask and if the country is under sharia law.

  17. BeccaM says:

    Whenever someone says, “I’m all for freedom, but–“, they were never really for freedom in the first place. Or more to the point, they obviously want a personal veto over other people’s liberties and civil rights, but will squeal like stuck pigs if anybody suggests any limits or constraints going the other direction.

    Consider, for example, how these same pole-sitters are bleating about their religious freedom being infringed upon if gay and lesbian couples are afforded the secular rights of civil marriage. Yet it occurs to them not at all how quite a few other religions were having THEIR rights infringed upon when the same-sex marriages they were solemnizing were prohibited from any sort of legal recognition.

    Basically, “It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.”

  18. Indigo says:

    I am amused. I am amused by the art work but more so by the histrionics of His Excellency, Archbishop Listecki who is all for freedom of speech except when he isn’t.

  19. Indigo says:

    That was my first thought.

  20. nicho says:

    I hear they were all used condoms, ones that had been discarded by priests and bishops after raping children.

  21. nicho says:

    If the Catholics thought they could get away with murder, they would do it. But they have more “refined” ways of exacting revenge.

    And did Mohammad forbid condoms? I forget.

  22. Doug105 says:

    I wonder how many are really upset about it, or if like in american politics it’s just that they make far more noise then the numbers would account for.

  23. Butch1 says:

    I wonder if these got rid of the “bags” under his eyes or made them worse. ;-

  24. Doug105 says:

    Merely an acknowledgement of the harm all religion, and the mindset that goes with it has caused the world. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf0d260ba007138c2d3c5dfd3303f59442751bb4d3ac61ff935e8bac50619dd3.jpg

  25. Max_1 says:

    Interesting deflection…

  26. Max_1 says:

    More Catholics use condoms than went into making this picture…
    … Yet, Catholics are up in arms over the depiction of the Pope.

    Worship your idols, Catholics. Protect them well…

  27. Doug105 says:

    Goos start, now lets move to something a bit harder, do Mohammad.

  28. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Personally, I think it’s a wonderful method of presenting Pope Gargamel.

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