Art: The Bishop Orders a Statue

Not since Michelangelo took revenge on a Vatican critic of his Last Judgment by limning the carper in the front row of the damned have prominent Roman Catholics so openly condemned an artistic project conducted under impeccable Catholic auspices.

The project: a colossal statue of Christ to be erected in front of the new headquarters of the National Catholic Welfare Conference—voice of the U.S. hierarchy—on Washington's Massachusetts Avenue. In an open competition 64 models were submitted, from which three finalists were picked. The winner is to be chosen in October. Last week all...