A German archbishop has sparked controversy by calling some modern art “degenerate” – a term used by the Nazi regime in its persecution of artists.
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, was speaking as the Church inaugurated its Kolumba art museum.
Cardinal Meisner warned that when art became estranged from worship, culture became degenerate.
The cardinal had not intended to pay tribute to “old ideologies”, a spokesman said.
The BBC's Marianne Landzettel says this was no off-the-cuff remark by the cardinal, delivered in a sermon in Cologne Cathedral, but was precisely scripted.
She says the phrase degenerate art – “entartete Kunst” – in German has only one connotation: that of Nazi Germany and the persecution of artists, the banning of paintings and the burning of books.
“Entartete Kunst” was the name of an exhibition of works organised by the Nazis in 1937 in Munich as a warning to the German people.