A “crucified cow” has been erected as “art” at the center of a consecrated Catholic church in the Belgian town of Borgloon. Local Catholics are urging the local bishop to have it removed and offer public prayers of reparation, but so far it has remained in place.
The “art” exhibit by Tom Herck is to be displayed until early December in the small parish church of Saint John the Baptist.
The “artist” went through the grueling process of actually nailing the 500 kg corpse of a cow to a cross before covering it with silicone paint. The cow on the cross, surmounting a basin containing 5,000 litres of milk, is supposed to symbolize industrial breeding and thrown-away food. Visitors are welcomed with beef and cheese appetizers.
The artist's choice of a church supposedly points to wasted architectural space in a time of housing shortage. Herck openly admits he is particularly seeking to attract attention to the “innumerable” churches that remain empty in Flanders on Sundays because, he says, the Flemish are no longer interested in “insufferably tedious Masses.”
The local Catholic group Katholiek Forum says the local diocese’s lethargy has been slow to act. They say the “crucified cow” is a “satanic image and a disgusting insult to God and Catholicism.”
To: Bishop Patrick Hoogmartens
We join Catholics in your diocese who are outraged over the display of a “crucified cow” in a consecrated Catholic church.
Please do all that is in your power to protect this most sacred space for the due worship of God, banish this sacrilege, and offer public prayers of reparation.
We pledge to pray for you in your role as shepherd of the Diocese of Hasselt.