I stopped by the library for confirmation, and though it definitely seems to be a condom(being a servile and unthinking Catholic, I've never seen one outside of its wrapper), it is just subtle enough that an impious advertiser could have slipped it past an absent-minded editor. I will reserve further judgement until the editors respond to the questions which this will inevitably provoke. If they spinelessly defend the ad, their bad faith will be obvious. However, a full apology to the Blessed Virgin, to her Son, and to America's readers would do a great deal to restore their reputation.
Those who complain report receiving the following e-mail:
December 15, 2005
We too are offended and very much regret we did not catch the mistake prior to publication. We are returning payment for the ad and protesting the abuse to the artist.
The problem was not evident in the black and white proofs we have used to check final copy.We are taking a number of new steps to review advertising in advance of publication.
Thank you for being so attentive.
Drew Christiansen, S. J.
Editor in Chief
It does seem an irreverent artist was trying to incite a controversy for free advertising. I hope the editors of America recommend their readers to say a novena for the troubled man, and I applaud them for acknowledging such a grievous error.