Saint Martin de Porres is known for his tireless work tending to the sick and poor in Peru in the 16th century. But a statue of him briefly unveiled at a Catholic school in Adelaide, South Australia caused his name to be known for a much different reason.
Blackfriars Priory School installed a stone statue of the saint giving out a loaf of bread to a small child. But some people immediately began to notice that the size and location of the bread sort of looked like something a little less charitable. A picture of the statue was shared on a local Instagram channel that pokes fun at the city, where it quickly went viral.
The school covered the statue with a black cloth, and later cordoned it off entirely.
Social media commenters heaped ridicule on the statue. “That is the first time bread has been unappealing to me in in my whole life,” wrote one commenter on Instagram. “Seriously no one that looked at this before it was installed!?” wrote another.
Other commenters made darker jokes about ongoing sexual abuse scandals at the Catholic church. Two former instructors at the school were jailed in the last 12 years for sexually abusing students, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The school later said in a statement that the plans for the statue had been approved based on two-dimensional drawings. When the statue was actually viewed by an executive, the school said it was deemed “to be potentially suggestive,” wrote Principal Simon Cobiac in a statement on Facebook. “As a consequence, the statue was immediately covered and a local sculptor has been commissioned to redesign it,” he continued.