Poet Dolors Miquel. Screenshot from Baluarte Digital YouTube video.
A poem about vaginas read at an awards event in Barcelona caused one conservative leader to storm out of its reading and Christian leaders to file criminal complaints.
Catalan poet Dolors Miquel has ruffled perhaps one too many Catholic feathers in Barcelona.
The artist read her feminist version of 'Our Father, who art in heaven' on Monday at the annual Barcelona Awards which are given out by the city for various categories, including literature, dance, innovative technology and education.
The poem by Miquel read as follows:
"Our Mother, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy coño (expletive for vagina).
The epidural, the midwife, bring to us your cry,
Your love, your strength.
Become by your will our uterus over the Earth.
Our day of every day, give us today.
And do not allow those sons of bitches to abort love, make war.
Liberate us! For ever and ever, vagina. Let's go!"
Many clapped and whistled as she finished her reading.
But not all appreciated Miquel's composition, with the head of the conservative Popular Party (PP) in Catalonia walking out before it ended, a Christian group filing criminal complaints and thousands now planning a demonstration against the poem.
The conservative leader, Alberto Fernández Díaz, wrote later that day on his Facebook an explanation for why he left during the poem.
"It is not a matter of religious beliefs, but of respect and here that was lacking with the recitation of a new version of the Lord's Prayer," Fernández wrote. "With Catholics, people dare to be insolent about everything, but I am sure that her freedom would not be applied in the same mocking way in regard to Islam or Muslims."
He added in another post that "freedom is not the right to offend".
He also told online newspaper El Español that he would ask the person responsible for organizing the programme to step down.
"What is the limit to freedom? Insult. Someone can defend abortion in many ways, but if she had not paraphrased the Our Father, she would not have these repercussions," Fernández said.
Blasphemy or art?
The poem was part of an awarding-winning book published by Miquel in 2006 and she has read it publicly in the past without any controversy, including at the Oliva Poetry Festival, where "absolutely nothing happened" in response, Festival organizer Angels Gregori told El Español.
Miquel said in response that she did not intend to offend anyone and that the poem is not blasphemy.
"It is a prayer, in fact, about motherhood," she said, according to La Vanguardia. "All of humanity come from a mother, a universal mother... It is also an ode to the dignity of the female body, which is not treated well in the Catholic religion."
But members of the religious community across Spain were not pleased, with one group going so far as to file criminal complaints. The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers placed blame on Barcelona's left-wing mayor Ada Colau, announcing on Wednesday that they had filed a formal complaint with public prosecutor's office against both the mayor and the poet.
They accuse Colau of committing a crime for allowing the poem to be read, and accuse Miquel of committing an offense against religious sentiments.
Religious freedom group Mas Libres has organized a protest for Friday to take place in front of the Barcelona City Hall, saying they expect tens of thousands to attend to demand a "conviction and public apology" from Colau.
Other Christian leaders took to social media to denounce the poem, with the bishop of Terrassa Josep Àngel Saiz Meneses tweeting that it was out and out "blasphemy".
The Spanish Conference of Episcopalians tweeted a picture of the Our Father's text with the caption "This is the way we pray the Our Father. The prayer that Jesus taught us."
The often politically outspoken nun Lucia Caram called on Barcelona's left-wing mayor Ada Colau to "apologize to believers".
This isn't the first artistic work in Barcelona to take inspiration from the Catholic faith in recent weeks.
At the city's fashion week, the audience got a surprise when one designer debuted her line of clothing inspired by nuns
, complete with habits and crucifixes.
Elsewhere in Spain, three women are currently on trial in Seville after they offended Catholics by marching in a protest with a giant plastic vagina
in a manner similar to how Catholics carry statues of the Virgin Mary for religious processions.