Rev. Philip Seeton said the portion of the crucifix in question is meant to be Jesus’ abdomen "showing distension” — not a penis. ... "I think it was painted according to the certain specific rules of iconography and church art,” Seeton said.
The 10-foot-tall (3 meters) icon is patterned after the San Damiano Cross, whose distended abdomen has been flaunted in public for nine centuries.
Clearly, it is wrong to put sexually suggestive pictures up in the sanctuary where innocent, impressionable priests might see and be tempted by them. No wonder the church has been having trouble keeping its clergy's abdomens under control all these years.