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  • Busty Virgin Mary causes outrage

    by Sunny
    20th January, 2009 at 12:00 am    

    Reuters reports:

    A prominent fashion designer has sparked outrage in Chile by dressing up models like the Virgin Mary — in some cases with ample, near-naked breasts. The Roman Catholic Church condemned Ricardo Oyarzun’s plans for a show featuring the models, and a conservative group tried unsuccessfully to block it in court. Oyarzun said he had received telephone threats and had excrement smeared on his doorstep.

    Religious extremists everywhere eh?

                  Post to del.icio.us

    Filed in: Religion

    17 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. ac256 — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:19 am  

      What is the actual point of this post? I am struggling to see one.

      Are you trying to draw parallels between some Christian parishoners in Chile and the likes of Hamas?

      Because there is no comparison, you know.

      Is this the kind of blogging aimed at making the world a better place, or is it just petty whataboutism?

    2. platinum786 — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:20 am  

      that would get people into church.

    3. Ravi Naik — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:25 am  

      It is a good thing that unlike the spineless Brits, Chile does not censor art because it offends some people.

    4. Sunny — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:26 am  

      What is the actual point of this post? I am struggling to see one.

      Didn’t realise I had to justify myself everytime to you! But you know, one learns every day!

    5. Amos Keppler — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:19 am  

      They are everywhere.

    6. kELvi — on 20th January, 2009 at 4:52 am  


      Expressing displeasure, hurt, grief, in such cases cannot be dubbed extremist. Even non-violent activism aimed at stopping such displays or representations cannot be termed extremist. Although Gandhi would condemn using non-violent methods as a mere substitute for violence. Ahimsa in Gandhi’s use of the term is not a means to win something for the practioner or to obtain the submission of the antagonist. It is a means to move beyond conflict. So when a Gopal condemns even the expression of displeasure, she is using non-violence in the place of violence. She is being violent in all but name only.

    7. misssc — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:29 am  

      kELvi, telephone threats and excrement smeared on his doorstep sounds pretty extreme to me. You don’t have to punch someone in the face or bomb them to be extreme.

      It’s not a direct comparison with Hamas is it, but an example of dealing with religious opposition with extreme and violent methods where less extreme alternatives are available and more likely to be successful. You can express displeasure, hurt, grief in other ways. In this kind of situation, lobby your MP or try to get an injunction by all means…all very British reactions maybe.

      The Catholic Church’s condemnation of it is hardly surprising; I’d be surprised if it didn’t. Seeing a religious icon dressed “inappropriately” is offensive to many Catholics. That does raise wider issues about how society considers naked breasts (in the context of fertility/motherhood) offensive… but that’s another story. The conclusion made is that it’s not widely accepted as objectively offensive enough to justify censoring art. Probably if she was dressed her up with PVC belts à la Jodie Marsh the conclusion would be different! Freedom of speech/expression goes both ways, where it isn’t causing disproportionate harm (and it’s hardly either the most offensive piece of art or the most harmful condemnation the Catholic Church has made in recent times). But unfortunately some Catholics take these official condemnations as an instruction to go out ‘as God’s messengers…’ and do something about it. Yep Sunny, they are everywhere.

    8. misssc — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:35 am  

      Platinum786, I’ve seen statues and pictures of the Virgin Mary in Churches with her robes draped to show some breast. Will that get you into Church? ;)

      The point is that the reaction of The Church is dependant on the context and the meaning it ascribes to the thing in question. Those images were designed by Establishment Catholics and are endorsed by the Catholic Church. When someone does the same thing unofficially or rebelliously, in the name of art/fashion rather than religion, it might be taken as blasphemous/sexual and condemned. But the beauty of art is the freedom we have to give it our own meaning regardless of what the creator intended. In this instance, the Church could have taken a more positive approach. It might be seen as an artistic tribute to her, and her naked breasts as a symbol of motherhood.

    9. persephone — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:58 am  

      “striking at the dignity of womankind by presenting her as an object of consumption”

      From looking at the pics of the models they are more over dressed than models tend to be.

      Just last year the vatican approved of breast feeding pictures of the Virgin Mary:


    10. Ravi Naik — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:48 am  

      The Catholic Church has always had an unconfortable relation with women and sexuality, and we do not have to go further than the Virgin Mary to prove that. Because the mother of Jesus had to be pure, it was inconceivable that she would have sexual relations (even with her husband), and therefore they had to come up with concepts like “virginal conception“.

      This is one of many silly legacies from ancient times which probably won’t change for a while.

    11. sonia — on 20th January, 2009 at 2:26 pm  

      good point from Ravi.

    12. platinum786 — on 20th January, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

      ^^^ Sharks manage it, why is it impossible to assume for a second that a human being couldn’t?

    13. sonia — on 20th January, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

      anyhow what annoys me about all this is an institution or group’s monopoly over a figure. Why should the Catholic Church think they can take a figure in history and ‘own’ how that figure is represented?

      This is what religions all seem to do. Think they have monopolies on religious figures. NOw- if you invented that figure - quite rightly, you’d be well annoyed if someone went and represented them in some other light. After all that effort you’d put in! of course you’d be annoyed.

      Very revealing.

      So - similarly- why Muslims think they have a similar monopoly over Mohammed. OK you believe he’s a prophet - so what? Why should you think you have a monopoly over what people say about him, (fiction or not!) Again, if you’d invented him, you can see why, but if you haven’t - what the f**k?

      All this furore about some wussy pussy namby pamby novel someone wrote about the Prophet’s wife, the Jewel of Medina book - getting people all worked up! for goodness sakes, there is more porn in the Hadith to get worked up..but strangely, no that is not a problem. Words fail me!! I don’t understand..

    14. Sid — on 20th January, 2009 at 3:27 pm  

      I quite like the figure of Mary. Female archetype and symbol of the love, mercy and generosity of god. Naked but not erotic, sexy but not dominatrix, motherly but virginal jewish girl from down the road. She’s also the closest we get to knocking over the stifling all-male, patriacharlism of Christianity and Islam.

    15. persephone — on 20th January, 2009 at 8:20 pm  

      “She’s also the closest we get to knocking over the stifling all-male, patriacharlism of Christianity and Islam.”

      Apart from the most powerful (and happily non religious) of them all - Mother Nature

    16. Mangles — on 22nd January, 2009 at 2:38 pm  

      Pointless- no i.e. cheap publicity - yes.

    17. Maria De Jesus — on 28th January, 2009 at 4:05 pm  

      My appeal to all Catholics, Christians, and all those of the holiest position in the church to submit signatures to the Vatican Council, to request for the ultimate respect for Our Virgin Mary ,by not exposing publicly or privately any of her private part in media, most epsecially.
      I think this is very wrong, this will misrepreent the mother of God to those that are already doubting her value in the church and in heaven. If there’s anyone who agree’s with me please email me rosamystica@catholic.org I am a Legionary of Mary, from St Patrick’s New york City and I will requests many signature from the holiest nuns & priests of the Catholic church,and to all the catholics, for an appeal to request the Vatican Council to reconsider keeping her physical private parts away from this indirect possible explotation. Thus, this will also affect the lives of many Catholic women mostly the school girls .I am a woman, and mere an ordinary woman, and it would hurt me for any private part of my body be publicly exposed, in anyways , how much more for the Mother of God? We need to give her the ultimate respect as Catholics, to protect her sacred Image. May God who is just give’s you peace upon reading this to help me with my plea to the Vatican to reconsider this order.
      So I am requesting you loving children of our Queen to affix your signatures after reading this to help me in my goal to preserve back her dignity as a woman and as a Mother of Jesus, and to all the title she holds in heaven and earth. May she bless your heart for the courage to fight for her Virginal, maternal and Regal Rights. and please help me in getting as much signatures and to prayfor this cause through your own rosary offerings would be greatly appreciated in heaven~ MVDJ Rosamytica@catholic.org

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