If I were a curator of an art gallery I would be very wary if a man claiming to be Banksy phoned to say he wanted to donate an exhibit.

The first question would be: is this a hoax? Then, if it could be established that this really was the enigmatic street artist, I would want to be reassured that the gallery wasn’t being taken for a ride. Banksy’s recent film for Channel 4, Antics Roadshow, showed that he is an admirer of pranks and anarchic publicity stunts designed to show up establishment figures and ‘straight’ institutions.

I’m sure there were plenty of behind the scenes debates surrounding Banksy’s adapted sculpture entitled Cardinal Sin but, to their credit, Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery have agreed to display the piece alongside 17th century religious art and ride out the possible backlash.

In comments to the press, gallery representatives have adopted an objective stance over the issue of child abuse that lies behind the artwork.  Reyahn King, director of art galleries at National Museums in Liverpool states merely that: “it is part of an artistic tradition to show art that challenges people”.

Secretly though, I am convinced that they actually endorse Banksy’s critique of the Roman Catholic Church. The bust makes a powerful image which symbolises the church’s reluctance to name and shame its paedophile priests.

Instead of the Cardinal’s face, we see only small bathroom tiles which make it resemble the type of pixelated image you see on the evening news when there is a need to protect a person’s identity e.g. kids of movie stars, suspected criminals, rape victims etc.

The point Banksy is making is that high ranking church officials who are guilty of sin can remain anonymous even though they are not vulnerable, innocent or deserving of official protection. In this way he is highlighting the fallibility and culpability of the papacy. As Banksy says: “At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse”.