A STATUE depicting a ‘friendly Satan’ taking a selfie has caused indignation among Roman Catholics in Spain who have started a petition claiming it is offensive and repulsive.
Segovia City Council intends to place the smiling statue 200 metres from a famous Roman-era aqueduct, which according to ancient folklore, the devil himself built in a single night.
It is hoped the sculptured Satan, wearing nothing but a cheeky grin and carrying a camera phone, will attract tourists to Segovia.
But religious residents are furious, and claim the ‘representation is offensive to Catholics’ because it ‘supposes an exaltation of evil’.
The petition, signed by almost 6,000 at the time of going to press, reads: “This diabolical appearance is repulsive and despicable, not kind and seductive, like that of the good natured devil, without malice, that has been conceived’.
In response, a rival group has started its own petition, signed by 2,600 people in two days.
They defend the council’s move, adding: “The sculpture is nice and a part of the legend of the aqueduct of Segovia, which does not affect morality, or religion, since it is nothing more than a character of a legend.”
Segovia council posted on its Facebook account: “This is a piece that does not pretend to be a serious and boring lesson of history, but a wink to the legend of the aqueduct.
“In addition, sculptor Jose Antonio Abella, has added a current element, a mobile phone with which the devil himself is taking a selfie in front of his work, the aqueduct.
“It’s an invitation without words for tourists to be photographed next to the devil and that allows the sculptor, the visitor and the Segovian to record their affection towards the city.”
Abella said he is deeply saddened by the negative response his statue has received.
He added: “With this sculpture I have not tried to hurt anyone or hurt any religious feeling. I have not charged a cent either, nor will I charge it.
“All rights are assigned to restore the heritage of Segovia. What hurts me the most is that Segovia might be seen as an intolerant and fanatical city, which it is not and we must not allow it to be. Let’s make a friendly and smiling city, good if possible, in the best sense of the word good.”