Artwork depicting the Virgin Mary as a stripper stirred trouble while on display at a small Catholic university before the piece was apparently stolen, said the AP.

The print was part of an exhibit last month at the University of Dallas which labels itself as “The Catholic University for Independent Thinkers” that a piece by Joanna Gianulis who said she was trying to raise questions about perceptions of saints and sinners and didn’t intend to be sacrilegious.

“How do we know that an exotic dancer is sinful?” she said. “What if she has the best intentions and strives only to help those in need?

“Many single mothers are in this position and that is another reason why I chose to reference the Virgin Mary, because she was another woman who was in a tough position and probably received much criticism because of it.”

Gianulis said she has no digital image of the print. Others who have seen it say it includes a veiled young woman wearing pasties and a G-string with money stuck in it.

All I can say is that I know stealing is prohibited in the Ten Commandments but in this case…I mean come on. God couldn’t have meant stealing this was bad, right?

The display went up Feb. 8 and prompted complaints within a couple of days. University President Frank Lazarus was away from the campus in the Dallas suburb of Irving when it was displayed but went to see it when he returned.

Lazarus said he found the print objectionable but didn’t remove it because of concerns about restricting academic freedom. Instead, he and other officials decided to put up signs warning that some items might be considered offensive.

Joshua Neu, a junior majoring in English and philosophy, (and obviously one of the only sane people on campus) was among those upset by the print.

“The university ought not display images that make profane that which the institution holds sacred,” he said.

Hey, imagine that. I suppose she must have gone to a good high school, I guess.

In 2001, nine members of the full-time staff of the university’s 15-year-old Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies (IRPS) program, a graduate program designed to prepare lay Catholics for church ministries resigned. The resignations included those of director Douglas Bushman who said,

“I do think the current administration is more sympathetic to those who have difficulty with our emphasis on doctrine as the foundation of all pastoral activity in the Church. All along our concern has been to offer a program consistent with the mind of the Church, to teach in rigorous fidelity to the texts of the Catholic tradition, and to stress the universal call to holiness. A principal objective has always been to lead students to appreciate the interdependence of truth and love, doctrine and pastoral practice, and thereby to overcome the false oppositions between them.”

Imagine that. Actually teaching what the church teaches. Bushman ended up at Ave Maria University where guess I haven’t heard of any blasphemous art works…at least yet.