Outrage at Naked Chocolate Jesus in New York Gallery

Catholics across the US have been left bewildered by a New York art gallery, which has decided to exhibit a sculpture of Jesus Christ - made entirely of chocolate.

|PIC1|The sculpture will be part of the galleries Easter exhibition and has been given the title 'My Sweet Lord'.

The chocolate figure stands at 6ft tall (1.8m) and shows Jesus naked hanging on the cross. Unlike usual images of Jesus hanging on the cross, the chocolate sculpture depicts Jesus without a loincloth.

In the US, the Catholic League has been left outraged by the plans. The organisation's head has described the sculpture as one of the "worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever".

The sculpture, created by artist Cosimo Cavallaro, will go on display from Monday in Manhattan's Lab Gallery. The Canadian-born artist is known for using food in his art, once painting a hotel room in mozzarella cheese.

The creative director of the gallery, Matt Semler, told the BBC that the organisers were considering all their options following a wave of complaints via email and telephone to the gallery.

Semler said: "We're obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offence people have taken. We are certainly in the process of trying to figure out what we're going to do next."

In particular, the Catholic League has questioned the timing of the sculpture's release to coincide with Easter. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said: "The fact that they chose Holy Week shows this is calculated, and the timing is deliberate."

Donohue has called for the public to boycott the gallery as well as the hotel which hosts it.

In response, Semler argued that the timing was purely coincidental. According to promoters, that 90 kg (200 pounds) of chocolate was used for the sculpture.