Vetting advertisements for a magazine is always a little tricky. Editors have a financial responsibility to keep the publication going, and it’s a fairly well-established practice in the trade to accept ads that don’t necessarily match the magazine’s editorial line¯I suppose on the principle that if, say, the people at MoveOn.Org somehow believe their money is well spent trawling for converts with an ad in the John Birch Society’s newsletter, it’s not the business of the John Birch Society to correct them.
Still, there are limits. Take, for example, the ad on page 36 of the December 5 issue of America magazine. No, not the one urging us to "search: deeper" and "plunge into God" by enrolling at Loyola Marymount University, or the one about the College of New Rochelle needing "Assistant Deans (2)." The one, rather, 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.