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Blessed Virgin Mary in bikini, sipping margarita stirs up Santa Fe

Updated: 2013-06-28T22:58:56Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

Two weeks later, the Santa Fe Reporter is still hearing heated objections to the cover of its Summer Guide 2013.

The illustration shows a buxom Blessed Virgin Mary in a yellow bikini and sunglasses, sipping on a margarita – salted brim and all.

Oh, and check out one of her buddies, a shirtless cowboy with a nipple ring.

Here’s just one of the reader reactions the alternative weekly has received: “This left me speechless. It is in very poor taste and it is unacceptable! Please retract and apologize to humanity.”

Wrote another offended reader: “I am likewise speechless, the Santa Fe Reporter has no idea how to capture the essence of summer. What it does capture and prove is it's degraded sensibility.

“We as Catholics will not stand by and let you degrade our Holy Mother. The Santa Fe Reporter no longer has any honor, respect or values, and is out of touch with all that is holy and sacred.”

Things never go well when artists disrobe Mary, in this case Our Lady of Guadalupe, considered Mexico's most popular religious icon. This isn’t the first time she’s been placed in a bikini for “artistic” purposes.

In 2011, an art exhibit that depicted Our Lady of Guadalupe in a floral bikini was attacked by critics before it even debuted at an Irish college.

Responding to the heat, Santa Fe Reporter editor Alexa Schirtzinger this week posted the backstory to the illustration in a letter to readers, offering one of those “we didn’t mean to offend anyone” non-apologetic apologies.

She said that when the weekly chose the summer guide’s theme – 93 days of summer, 93 ways to enjoy them – “we wanted to come up with a cover design that was engaging and captured the essence of summer.

“We wanted something that reflected not just the diversity of activities we would recommend readers pursue this summer, but also the diversity of our city ...

“The intent of our Summer Guide cover design was not to insult or denigrate any religion or ethnicity, but rather to incorporate an important part of Santa Fe's culture into an image that also unites other diverse cultures that flourish in our city. We do, however, appreciate our readers' perspectives on the issue, and we never intended to offend anyone.”

She goes on to say that rather than causing rifts, the paper hopes to “foster an honest discussion about different interpretations of culture and the imagery that accompanies it.”

Well, she certainly got that.

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