The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“My Sweet Lord”: the second coming

Earlier this year, at Easter time, a giant chocolate Jesus sculpture debuted in New York.

Now it’s back, to scare up some more attention near Halloween:

“My Sweet Lord,” an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that infuriated Catholics before its April unveiling was canceled, returns Oct. 27 to a Chelsea art gallery, its creator said Tuesday. This time, artist Cosimo Cavallaro said he expects the public exhibit to proceed without a problem.


“There is nothing offensive about this,” Cavallaro said of his controversial confectionary work. “If my intentions were to offend, if I did do something wrong, I wouldn’t be doing this. But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Cavallaro, who received death threats before the April show was canceled, said the vast majority of his mail was in support of his six-foot piece.

“I got a lot of positive mail from people in the Catholic Church, people studying theology, people in monasteries,” Cavallaro said. “All kinds of letters and e-mails of support.”

The last show was criticized for its timing and its location. The exhibit, in a gallery visible to passersby on a Manhattan street, was set to open one day after Palm Sunday and four days before Christians marked the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday.


The Catholic League, which led the charge against “My Sweet Lord” back then, said the change in venue to the Proposition Gallery and the exhibition’s new opening date would keep it from calling for another shutdown of the sculpture’s showing.

“We don’t approve of the piece at all, but it’s not something we’re going to protest,” said Kiera McCaffrey, the league’s director of communications. “This is much less an in-your-face assault on Christians, and it’s not happening during Holy Week.”

The exhibit, at the Proposition Gallery in Manhattan, will be accompanied by a set of chocolate Catholic icons created by Cavallaro, a group that includes the Virgin Mary and saints Francis, Augustine, Michael, Jude, Anthony and Fermin.


“After the cancellation of the show, it got me to look into the Catholic religion a little deeper,” Cavallero said. “I started thinking about the saints, how they were ostracized for their beliefs and then canonized.”

Cavallaro’s work features Christ with outstretched arms, as though hanging from an invisible cross. Unlike traditional religious depictions of Christ, Cavallaro’s Jesus lacks a loincloth.

Image: from WNBC TV, New York

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Brendan McGrath

posted October 17, 2007 at 3:42 am

Here we go again…The fact that Jesus is portrayed nude isn’t a problem — for Heaven’s sake, we’ve got the same sort of thing in the Vatican; what’s the name of that statue of Jesus embracing the cross by Michaelangelo? And of course the statue of David, etc. And the Renaissance portrayals of Christ rising from the dead in a state of arousal, symbolizing the consummation of His union with the Church as His Bride, etc.And the fact that a sculpture of Jesus is made of chocolate isn’t a problem.And the fact that a sculpture of Jesus was on display, visible from the street, isn’t a problem.And the fact that a sculpture of Jesus was displayed around Holy Week isn’t a problem.But when you put all four of them together, ehhh… Although then again, the fact that it’s edible, and the whole Eucharist side of it, and the way the medieval women mystics and others often had sensations of sweetness when receiving Communion, plus the erotic nature of some of their Eucharistic experiences, etc. … But the artists still shouldn’t be surprised at the public reaction. And if he wanted to reassure people about his motives, etc., there’d be lots of ways to demonstrate/witness to his Catholic faith (he is Catholic, isn’t he?). Though hopefully it’d be something better than John Kerry’s “But I was an altar boy! I was an ALTAR BOY!!!” thing. Speaking of which, it’s sad enough when politicians put on a performance of religion to get elected, but it’s even sadder when they try it and they’re BAD at it, appallingly bad. “But I was an altar boy!” It always reminded me of the title of that movie, “But I’m a Cheerleader!” I voted for him, though — was raised Democrat, and besides, a deceased loved one of mine would’ve wanted me to vote for him. The Chesterton’s democracy of the dead, I suppose. I’d describe myself as a lapsed Democrat, or perhaps a “lapsing” Democrat. The ironic part is that I voted for Kerry, but wanted to see Bush win — not because I wanted Bush to be president, but because of what it would demonstrate, and because I wanted anti-religious, anti-Catholic, secular humanist, pro-choice, pro-embryonic stem cell research supporters to lose.Wow, that got off topic. 😉

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mary therese

posted October 17, 2007 at 5:40 am

“My sweet Lord”…. Not my style but there are far more significant issues to worry about than this

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