NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics in New York showed up in droves to protest a museum exhibit they say blasphemes the Faith.
Several faithful Catholic organizations, including America Needs Fatima (ANF), the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), and a local Church Militant Resistance chapter, attended the large protest on June 9 outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
Called the "Met Reparation Rally," the prayerful protest had a massive turnout. According to ANF, more than 600 people participated.
The protesters were objecting to the Met's temporary exhibit "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." The exhibit displays vestments and other liturgical objects on loan from the Vatican, as well as modern fashion pieces loosely inspired by Catholicism, including some deemed gravely offensive and even blasphemous, e.g., a leather S&M bondage mask draped with Rosary beads, and episcopal and papal attire made for women — interpreted by some as a statement against the all-male priesthood.
Church Militant spoke with Philip McManus, an active member of Resistance who attended the Reparation Rally. He was amazed at the turnout: "It was such a big crowd. It was definitely a city block."
The organizers of the June 9 rally sought to make reparation to Our Lord and Our Lady for the exhibit's sacrilegious displays. The protest occurred on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, one day after the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
The Reparation Rally featured the Rosary and other prayers, as well as several hymns with accompaniment on bagpipes and drums.
McManus told Church Militant, "It was loud. It was reverent. It was holy." He continued, "TFP did a great job."
He noted that a number of protesters came from Rockville Centre, an incorporated village in Nassau County on Long Island.
In 2016, McManus led a public Rosary rally protesting the allowance of gay groups to march under their own banners in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
At the Met protest, John Horvat II, author of Return to Order, told ANF in a video interview, "We came here to send a message to the Metropolitan Museum, that this exhibit/exhibition called 'Heavenly Bodies' is unacceptable. It's blasphemous. It's sacrilege."
Horvat noted that the line of protesters stretched all the way "down to the other side of the block."
TFP Student Action likewise produced a YouTube video about the reparation rally. In the video, one protester breaks down crying as she says, "Our Blessed Mother, she is so offended by the blasphemies that occurred here at the Met, at the Gala opening."
A report by TFP on the protest stated, "As the rosary went on, some onlookers came up to ask what was going on. Others perceived and shouted profanities. Many were sympathetic and ended up joining the rosary."
McManus observed that a lot of passersby seemed "curious," a few were "supportive," but "some people didn't like us at all."
The opening of "Heavenly Bodies" in May was celebrated at the Met Gala, a lavish party attended by celebrities and fashionistas in outlandish outfits.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the archdiocese of New York was present, as was pro-gay Jesuit celebrity priest Fr. James Martin.
As photographs of the Met Gala spread online in May, some faithful Catholics were outraged. The combination of Catholic devotional symbols with flashy, immodest clothing seemed sacrilegious to many.
The Met Gala outfit that gained the most attention was worn by pop star Rihanna. She came to the gala in a sparkly silver outfit that included a bishop's miter. Cardinal Dolan joked during the gala that Rihanna must have borrowed the miter from him.
Some female celebrities donned skimpy dresses that were decorated with crosses and other Catholic symbols. Also popular were tiaras and headpieces designed to imitate the crown-and-halo combination found on many statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Many people slammed the use of Catholic imagery by secular high fashion, calling it disrespectful and blasphemous.
In an episode of The Vortex, Michael Voris slammed Cdl. Dolan for partaking in the Met Gala, saying, "And of course, since it was in New York, Dolan had to be front and center with his cheap theatrics to sell off the Faith once again to the highest bidder, in exchange for a couple photo ops with today's celebrities."
Even some lapsed Catholics and theological dissidents were offended by the Met Gala. BBC anchor Piers Morgan, a baptized Catholic who openly rejects the Church's moral teachings, was frustrated that the Met Gala made a mockery of the Catholic Church.
In a piece for Daily Mail, Morgan wrote, "To me, this year's Met Gala crossed a line and was openly, brazenly disrespectful."
He noted, "Apparently — staggeringly — the Vatican gave permission for the Gala to be 'Catholic-themed' because it has already provided a variety of clothes and other items for an accompanying exhibition at the Met."
Morgan continued, "To which my response is: what the h*** was the Vatican thinking?"