WARR ACRES — The local artist who designed a crucifix some say shows genitalia on Jesus plans to modify the piece in effort to end the controversy it has caused.
Janet Jaime, an Oklahoma City iconographer, came under fire for a crucifix she designed that since February has been above the main altar at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Warr Acres. Church officials now plan to remove the crucifix so Jaime can modify it. At issue is Jesus’ abdominal area, which some say looks like a large penis. The church’s pastor released a statement to parishioners Friday announcing the crucifix would be modified. "It certainly is not the intention of the artist or myself that the cross of Jesus Christ be a source of division or result in disrespectful statements,” the Rev. Philip Seeton wrote. Parishioners welcome the news. "It is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Rita Cook, who has attended the church for 35 years. "Any attempt by Father Seeton to bring closure to this issue in some part will bring hopefully good intentions to show that as the pastor of St. Charles he is willing to work with his parishioners.” The crucifix has been divisive for parishioners, some of whom left the church because they were offended by it. Jaime’s husband said Friday his wife remains too distraught over the controversy to speak publicly about it. "She’s a sensitive person,” Reggie Jaime said. "It’s just bothering her to pieces.” Mark Gilmore, a local artist and friend of Janet Jaime, said it appears the iconographer put too much contrast on Jesus’ abdomen, making it appear like a penis rather than an abdomen. "It was entirely accidental,” Gilmore said.