Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms


Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against condoms. According to him (possibly his faith), the use of condoms was/is considered immoral. After having traveled to a certain part of Africa where AIDS is rampant, the lovely pope changed his mind and stated that condoms might be useful to halt the spread of STDs.

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms

He received both positive and negative criticism.

AIDS activists were happy he spoke positively about the use of condoms.

Catholicism was rapidly expanding in parts of Africa and a positive message from their Catholic leader (the pope) about condoms would hopefully urge its followers to use them more.

Some conservative Catholics feared that this pass/allowance of condom usage in Africa would condone its overall use everywhere else.

Ever since his original comments, some Catholics saw it as the green light to use condoms guilt free while others (usually more conservative) insisted that the exception was solely for certain situations like the spread of AIDS and other STDs.

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms

Regardless where the pope stood on the issue, the majority of his followers still used condoms. And those that didn't use condoms did so because it reduced their pleasure, not because they found it immoral.

An artist, Niki Johnson, decided to bring up this conversation once more.

She created a portrait of the pope out of (take a big guess...) CONDOMS!

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms

Niki used over 17,000 condoms to immortalize the pope's likeness.

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made out of condoms

The piece is featured at the Milwaukee Art Museum and caused massive outrage in the Catholic community. Several patrons stopped donating/supporting the museum. Some members revoked their membership/alliance with the museum. One long-time tour worker of the museum left. Just overall, lots of fiery Catholic anger toward the museum.

Niki explains that her point was to bring up the condom/AIDS topic once more, not to offend the Catholic community.

What do you think?

Did she go too far?

Or are you astonished at the preventing powers of condoms immortalized in the pope's likeness?

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The museum stands by the piece and refuses to remove it.

They like her message and believe that controversy sparks interest in issues.

Personally, I got her message loud and clear.

I think it's ridiculous in this day and age to call condoms 'immoral', but immortalizing the pope in condoms was a little 'extra'.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • AIDS is one of the scariest issues we have on this planet right now, and an exploding population doesn't help matters. Catholics are forgetting this with their incessant need to reproduce. No religion is going to save us from this because we're humans and we're sexual beings. Even Christians are running around fucking things up.

    I'm done with the overly-sensitive religious who are too proud in their faith to grow up and face facts. No one said they can't enjoy their religion, but to put the world in danger with a fucktard who leads the way with lies about condoms is putting the rest of our planet in more harm's way. I remember when all of this happened and I thought, we're doomed. The only right thing he had done was give up his papacy.

    Now people are leaving the museum as members, volunteers, etc? Fine. Let them. Overly-sensitive sheep. Here's another newsflash, art is art. There's a lot of it out there that is abstract and unusual. If you're a fan of art, much like I thought charity givers were, youd know this. These people obviously had a boundary.

    Once again, I gotta question why Catholics feel that their religion is so fragile that they have to have their religious tantrums fearing that their faith is being challenged. I never fear my atheism is challenged and if I had this same strength in Christianity, I wouldn't care -- let people think what they want. If people are this insecure about their faith, then to me that's a sign that they should be. Any proud Christian should have the guts to stand up and say they don't care and carry on, letting god do the rest of the judging and punishing while they go about their lives. These hissy fits Christians have just prove that their religion is in fact, in trouble.

    • What I noticed is that some Catholics thought she was attacking their whole religion. I felt like she was attacking one pope's statement and not the whole religion. And besides Pope Benedict was super sketchy. I'm glad Pope Francis is much better

    • ^^^ 150% agree.

    • I'm pointing at your opinion not the take owner's comment by the way

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • It's pathetic
    ~...

  • Personally, I love the back of the portrait.

    :)

    Anyways, I think it can be seen as disrespectful, simply because of the medium. But, it's art. And anyone with the backstory should be able to see where she was coming from, and see that she wasn't trying to insult. Besides, she did a wonderful job. It's a great piece of art.

  • Pahahaha. Just done use one of the portrait, probably got some holes in!

    Quite honestly I don't care. I don't think it's immature. Extreme yes. And it would be disrespectful if they had been used. But no, whatever. I really don't care what the pope says as I'm not a Christian and he was elected in the same way a prime minister is elected. He's not a god. He's not always right. He's an old little German. He can stick to 1920 and I'll stick to 2010, mmmm'kay?

    • actually, the currrent pope isn't stuck in 1920. He's one of the best popes we have seen in modern history. Excommunicated the mafia (that really pissed them off, and made it clear he took a staind against criminal activity), lives a hubmle life and even replaced all the regalia with more "comon" clothes to show he's a man of the people, has actively worked to root out pedophilia cases within the catholic church and the vatican state. Also the fact he changed his opinion when presented with evidence is a clear sign he's willing to change with the time. In short, yes he's a religious leader, but no he's not stuck in the past. In fact, a lot of people are mazed he hasn't ben shot yet for being too liberal.

    • @dartmaul15 Pope Francis (current pope) is a great pope. I'm not sure if she was aware that Pope Benedict is no longer pope.

    • Oh no I didn't. But honestly, as I'm not religious it doesn't really stick in my mind. I didn't mean it literally. I was merely meaning he's in/from a different world and that world rarely collides with mine.

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  • He had a point. The false promise of invincibility offered by condoms has deceived thousands. As well as preached the lie that immediately-observable physical consequences of illicit sex are the only thing wrong with illicit sex. Any honest individual who has so much as even been on the dating scene, listening to testimonies from dates who have colorful sex histories, can testify that this is simply not true.

    Even so, it is the height of degenerate to blow off that advice and then celebrate rebellion against such wisdom by taking a speaker of it that is respected by millions, and make his likeness out of the very instrument he warned against.

    It would be like drawing Muhammad with dyed samples of pig fat. Or using snapshots of Billy Graham to make a composite mosaic photo of Dan Savage (way to offend both camps at once!)

    Regardless which camp of thought you belong to, it is poor taste.

    • There are two sides to this argument. There are millions of people who use condoms incorrectly as in they store it in places with temperatures that the condom can't tolerate. They even use condoms when its past the expiration date. People improperly using condoms is the main result for them failing. I've use condoms every single time I had sex even with my girlfriend and they never fail me. Also and here's a scenario for you: A catholic man and woman wait until the honeymoon to have sex. The male is a virgin mad has never had sex. The female is not a virgin but behaves like one and on top of that, the female has an STD that has no visible symptom but is easily transferable during sex. The female is also aware that she has the STD and does not tell the man until the honeymoon. Tell me what you think the man should do? Follow the pope's advice and get an STD? Or wear a condom and proceed with disappointment?

    • Not have sex. If she's infected, she owes it to everyone - including herself - to get treated. If incurable, then no sex. Period. That's a public health issue at that point. Wanting to get jiggy is no excuse to be Typhoid Mary. And the man... as itchy as he may get, he does her no favors letting the focus of their relationship be about sex. Before they are married, they need to solidify the grounds which the sex would later celebrate. This is why I'm actually sort of thankful that I don't get sexual itch much anymore. There are so many things in life that you can't do when you're distracted by being horny. I never thought a lack of sex could feel so... liberating. It's counter-intuitive, really.

    • Also it's not like people are having sex all day long. I mean sex when you're married especially when you're religious is something one really looks forward to since they've been virgin most of their lives prior. This man would have been happy to consummate his marriage, but the thought of getting an STD would always ruin it.

  • It's a shame he had to go to Africa for this aha moment about condoms and I guess because the pop said so, many people who also previously thought condoms were immoral will get on board with it too smh.

  • There is nothing more entertaining than a butthurt christian. It helps me go to sleep. Especially when it's about things that are just basic common sense like the use of condoms or the right for gay marriage. They always have beliefs they must impose to everyone. So seeing them become less and less relevant everyday makes me happy.

  • I think that she has talent, but I also think that this is cheap sensationalism for self-promotion. It's immature and disrespectful.

    • True, but the Pope telling people to not use condoms (something that prevents STD infection and unwanted pregnancies) is also kinda immature. But now that I think about it, I can't think of a less subtle way she could have got the message across

    • Its not immature. Catholic belief and doctrine is that sex is meant for marriage, a fruition of love and procreation of new life. Contraception obviously counters one of those His job is to lead catholics and those of the catholic faith, and anyone who wants to join the catholic faith. His job is also to comment on society yes, but he is not forcing you to live a life you don't want. He is only showing you an undeniable truth. Its everyone's choice to accept it or not. People are saying "stop shoving your religion down my throat" well I say "stop shoving your degeneracy down mine"

    • @PT1911 In any case, surveys showed that a majorite of Catholics still used condoms and those that didn't did so for pleasure reasons. Meaning, only the most conservatives did not use condoms for religious reasons. And nobody was dissing the whole religion. She literally mocked one pope's statement, not the whole religion. I'm not even sure if they were condoms by the time the bible was written. But even Catholics can't just look at the religious reasons for procreation. Not everyone wants or can afford a child and some of those people happen to be Catholics; so they're going to have plenty of protected sex regardless of the Pope's stance on it. You can't really say that they're not required to accept it. They choose to ignore that part of their doctrine thus bringing us back to the no true Scotsman fallacy.

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  • I don't consider cancelling memberships and donations 'massive' outrage.

    She must have been really bored and not thinking practically when she made that. Those condoms could've gone to people who need them.

    If I were him though, I'd take it as a compliment. Definitely artistic. I don't see how it's different from those lollipops of the pope they sell in italy that you can suck on.

    • By massive outrage, I just meant the catholic community was overall super pissed about it. I'd argue she was creative and had too much time. Such art is fueled by idealism. She really thought about the message, after all, she must have spent more than a thousand dollars on the condoms alone lol

  • Yes, I feel she did go too far. That is a satirical backhand to what the Pope said regarding the prevention of STDs.

  • That's disrespectful, I don't care wear you stand on the debate over whether to use condoms or not. He still deserves respect as the head of the Catholic Church, would have this artist (and I use the term loosely) have made a mockery out of the Dalia Lama? I think she caused this controversy just to get her name out because her talent wasn't

    • He's no longer Pope

    • Yes you're right, he's not. I still stand by my comment. As he was the head of the Church

  • I am not even religious, but this seems plaina nd simply disrespectful.

  • The condom portrait was hilarious, I'll never understand overly religious people. They need to lighten up.

  • this Niki Johnson girl looks like miranda cosgrove. As for her portrait... as remarkably accurate as it is, i doubt the pope would approve!

  • If it was a portrait of Mohammad, people on here would rush to insult the lady.

    But hey, since this guy is catholic, that's OK to credit her right?

    #tiredofthedoublestandard

    • People have insulted her. They just didn't murder her like the radical Muslims did to those artists in Paris.

  • what a waste of condoms

  • Christ, that's pretentious.

  • i definitely didn't think liberals would be taking over the Catholic Church at any point in time but I love it. This is how Faith will continue on through the 22nd century...

  • I am not even going to give my opinion on the whole Catholic-condom issue, because I simply don't know enough about it. I do however think that the portrait of the pope made out of condoms was a bit... unnecessary. In my eyes it's just another way to try to get a reaction and offending someone at the same time. (This time a whole religion)

    • I really think she meant to criticize the pope and not the religion. Her problem was with that particular pope and his words. Pope Francis (current pope) went the other direction and is more liberal in terms of condoms, etc. Besides Pope Benedict also wasn't the best pope ever, with the whole neglection of the child molestation cases. And she also couldn't offend the religion since the bible doesn't say anything explicitly about condoms.

    • If you're Catholic, it's hard to look at this piece and not feel offended. Probably cause you attached yourself to the Pope. But also remember that he's a man and not perfect

    • No no, I'm not a Catholic and I don't know much about the pope either. I just think that this was a bit unnecessary but whatever. I'm a Christian and I personally don't see any problem with condoms but as I said I am no specialist in the matter so I'm just going to take it easy. :)

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  • I hope they weren't used condoms.

  • Silly stunt this will achieve nothing waste of good condpms that probably could have prevented tens of cases of STDs

    • Free market. She's free to spend her money on whatever the hell she pleases

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