The city’s Catholic archbishop is reminding followers of the religion to have a critical eye when it comes to visiting the upcoming controversial Body Worlds exhibit, an educational show that includes human bodies that have been preserved in plastic.
Archbishop Richard Smith says the show, slated to begin at the Telus World of Science June 13, raises alarms among Catholics when it comes to human dignity and respect for the deceased.
“It’s hard reconciling a principal of our faith with a scientific practice that preserves the body indefinitely,” said Smith during a telephone interview with Metro.
“It’s not clear to me what is done with the bodies when this exhibit is done long term ... Whether or not the body is returned to the family for a proper burial.”
The Body Worlds exhibit features 200 specimens that include organs and bodies that have been preserved using a process called plastination, which includes replacing all body fluids and fat with reactive resins and polymers.
Andrea Kuhlmann with the Telus World of Science says an advisory committee was created several months ago that included several educational and religious leaders, including Smith, “to help them be aware of the exhibit.”
“We think it’s healthy to have different viewpoints and you apply critical thinking because after all that’s what scientific exploration is all about,” said Kuhlmann.
Kuhlmann says ticket sales for the show are on pace to exceed other venues that have already hosted the educational show.