December 29, 2005


Condom statue angers Catholics

John Hooper in Rome
Friday December 23, 2005
The Guardian

A British artist has outraged Roman Catholics around the world by advertising a statuette of the Virgin Mary enveloped in a condom in a respected Jesuit weekly.
The artist, Steve Rosenthal, offered readers a chance to buy a "a stunning 22cm statue of the Virgin Mary standing atop a serpent, wearing a delicate veil of latex". It provided an email address at which prospective buyers could register interest.

In a front-page article in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Vittorio Messori, a literary collaborator of the late pope John Paul, expressed horror at the way the sperm cup at the end of the condom had been arranged so as to sit on top of the Virgin's head, "like a grotesque cap replacing the royal crown of tradition". The Jesuit weekly, America, which calls itself the US "national Catholic weekly", apologised in its latest issue. A spokesman told the Guardian: "We made a terrible mistake by publishing this. We only saw the ad in black and white, so we didn't see how serious it was."