(CNSNews.com) -- The December issue of the Mexican edition of Playboy features a scantily-clad model in a pose resembling the visage of the Blessed Virgin Mary -- a portrayal that has spawned outrage from Catholics all over the world.
The Dec. 1 cover features Argentine model Maria Florencia Onori, attired only in a white garment covering her head, in a similar pose to that of Mary holding the infant Jesus. Under her pose is the headline “Te Adoramos Maria,” Spanish for “We adore you, Mary.”
“The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe,” stated Raul Sayrols, the publisher of Playboy Mexico, the Spanish-language version of Playboy, told CNN. “The intent was to portray a renaissance-like mood on the cover.”
But Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, dismissed that as an excuse.
“Everybody knows this has nothing to do with the Renaissance,” Donahue said, adding that this is not the first time Playboy has openly insulted the Catholic Church.
There is a divide between the Catholic Church and Playboy, he said
“The Catholic Church believes in an ethic of sexual reticence, and Playboy believes in an ethic of sexual recklessness,” Donahue said.
Playboy Mexico issued an apology for the incident.
“While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies,” the company stated.
The month of December in the Catholic liturgical calendar is significant in its honoring of Mary: Dec. 8 is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary; Dec. 12 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Dec 25 is Christmas Day.