"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The slip..er, the condom shows

Fortunately, I am spared the temptation to sensationalize by depicting what I shall write about because, as a matter of principle, I do not subscribe to the periodical in which it appears. I refer to the Jesuits' America, "the magazine for thinking Catholics," which I gave up reading when, in college, I learned how to think and thereby saved my faith from the Jesuits. But Jody Bottum of First Things has at least described for us what the editors of America seem to regard as an ad that will appeal to their residuum of thoughtful readers.

I quote (Bottum, not the ad):
The one...that shows a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, eight and a half inches high, wrapped in a condom.

At least I think what the ad describes delicately as “a delicate veil of latex” is a condom. It covers the statue from head to foot, with a little reservoir knob on top, all forming a “unique contemporary religious art work for sale,” which “Chelsea College of Art London Sculptural Artist Steve Rosenthal” has named “Extra Virgin.” It can be yours for “$300 (plus shipping from UK).” America is “published by Jesuits of the United States,” as it says on the magazine’s masthead, and the issue appeared just in time for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Of course it's now time for another ritual disclaimer: I do not for a moment think that the editors deliberately planned the ad's appearance for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But such things just do have a way of working out like that, don't they? Immaculate timing. No taint of original fertility will be allowed to sully this feast. Extra virgin, indeed.

My considerable firsthand experience with the Society of Jesus in the United States prevented me from being in the least surprised by this. Nothing from these guys shocks me—at least when it comes to anything remotely related to sex. There are a few good Jebs, such as Cardinal Dulles, Joseph Fessio, Mitch Pacwa, and others whose names wouldn't be of interest to most readers. But they don't control the Society; the Society marginalizes them. Because they are talented men filled by the Holy Spirit with zeal for Christ, they succeed in spite of how their confrères treat them. Thank God for the faithful remnant.
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