The Never-Buried Now On Sale

Plastinated Person at Body Worlds

Plastinated Person at Body Worlds

I never went to see the Body Worlds exhibit when it came to Minnesota a few years ago. The real human beings, preserved at death by “plastination” which replaces water and fat with plastic, stand nude – with body parts exposed – for eternity. It seemed a violation of their God-give dignity.

Friends who did go to Body Worlds reported that the bodies were displayed with respect. They were eloquent about experiencing wonder at the complexity of muscle and sinew. The people who were never buried were having a holy existence. I was unconvinced that they would be treated with respect for hundreds of years – until the plastic breaks down.

Body World body parts for sale

These poor bodies, trapped between death and the grave, are now up for sale, according to news reports. They are sold in pieces – you can buy a torso or just a head, or even just a slice. Buyers must have vaguely-defined research interests.

The respect for the real human lives is further undermined be sales of real-appearing glass replica parts, and by jewelry made from plastinated animal body parts.

The German regional Lutheran bishop and Catholic Bishop Zollitsch captured my sense of the progran:
“the human body shouldn’t be degraded and made into an object of spectacle, or a stock of spare parts.”

I pray they don’t become college dorm room decor.

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, serving in vocation and oblate ministry. Also a social scientist, reader, lover of nature and travel, and dabbler in many things. +UIOGD
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One Response to The Never-Buried Now On Sale

  1. Monica Isley says:

    I’m ambivalent about this. I love seeing mummies and remains from LONG ago; I love looking at them and visualizing a person and feeling a tug at the heart for someone who lived, loved and died so long ago and is now unknown and unremembered. They had struggles, hopes, dreams, sorrows, joys just like I do. I say a prayer for them.

    But selling them–bit by bit? To me, it’s an indication of our growing disregard for the sanctity of life and the dignity of each person–and society’s growing lack of belief in the afterlife. It’s disrespectful. What if that were your own grandmother up there?

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