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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 07:09 GMT
Poles attack Pope sculpture
The Ninth Hour sculpture
The sculpture has outraged Catholic Poland
A controversial life-like sculpture of the Pope being crushed by a falling meteorite was attacked by two Catholic members of the Polish parliament on Thursday.

The sculpture, a tableau work entitled "La Nona Ora" (The Ninth Hour), by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelano, had been on show for a week at Warsaw's Zacheta Gallery.


We don't visit hospitals to stare at suffering people. So let's not come and stare at the Holy Father as he suffers, crushed by a rock

Wojciech Cejrowski, journalist
According to the official Polish news agency, PAP, the two men removed the meteorite from the tableau and tried to put the figure of the Pope into a standing position.

The statue has provoked an extreme reaction in Poland not only because of the country's devout Catholicism, but also because the Pope is Polish.

'Profanation'

Before the attack, a group of MPs had already called for the removal of the work, which they described as "a profanation of the sacred, given the special relations between Poles and the Holy Father."

On Tuesday, well-known right-wing journalist Wojciech Cejrowski tried to cover the work with a sheet.

After the latest attack, the gallery's management stopped access to the exhibit and launched an inquiry into the damage incurred.

The Cattelano sculpture raised eyebrows - but provoked no physical attacks - when it was put on show in London earlier this year.

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20 Sep 00 | UK
Art's shock treatment
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