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Published: Saturday, 2/2/2008

Exhibit with cadavers off-limits for school visits, archbishop says

CINCINNATI - An exhibit of human cadavers is unseemly and inappropriate for Roman Catholic school field trips, according to Cincinnati's archbishop.

"Bodies The Exhibition," which opened yesterday at the Cincinnati Museum Center, features 20 human cadavers and a total of 280 specimens, including partial bodies and individual organs, preserved by a process called polymer preservation and shown in various poses.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk first sent an e-mail to Catholic school administrators saying that the exhibit is inappropriate for school trips, and adding that it should be up to parents to determine whether they want their children to see it. The church maintains that dead bodies must be treated "in a way that recognizes the dignity of the human person," he said.

Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions said the company was disappointed with the archdiocese's statement. The goal is to show the inner workings of the human body, taking viewers through nine galleries representing different systems of the body, said Cheryl Mure, Premier Exhibitions' education director.

More than 350,000 school children have seen the exhibition and Cincinnati is the first diocese to question it since the exhibit opened in North America in 2004, Ms. Mure said.

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