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Slovak Catholic church wants 'Human Body' exhibit closed

  • A visitor stands behind a preserved human body on display at an exhibition in Budapest’s Vam Design Center.

BRATISLAVA: Slovakia's Roman Catholic church on Tuesday called for the closure of a "Human Body" exhibition of preserved corpses in the Slovak capital Bratislava.

Stefan Secka, head of the Catholic church's sub-committee for bioethics, urged people to boycott the exhibit which displays over 200 bodies dissected so that the organs and muscles are visible.

"The Human Body Exhibition seriously degrades and defames human corpses, dissected and showcased in a way that humiliates human dignity in order to gain profit," Secka said in a statement.

"I call on the national and local authorities... to close the exhibition, and I urge all Christians and people of the goodwill not to visit it," he added.

The exhibition by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens has courted controversy worldwide.

The bodies are prevented from decaying by a method called plastination, or the replacement of water and fatty material in the cells of the body by plastics which von Hagens patented in the 1970s.

The organisers say all donors died from natural causes and donated their bodies for scientific purposes. Their identities and ages are not given.

"The exhibition cares for the exhibits (bodies) with all due dignity and respect. Once they stop being used for educational purposes, they will be cremated," Czech-based JVS Group organising the exhibition said on its website.

The exhibit is due to run in Bratislava until November 25.

 
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