Friday, March 24, 2006

Purity Becomes Her

If you clicked on the link to GQ Magazine in my previous post, you may have noticed the cover photo of one Adriana Lima. How could you miss it?

Miss Lima hails from Brazil - the most Catholic nation in the world. In addition to modeling women's underbritches for Victoria's Secret, and to having dated both singer/songwriter Lenny Kravitz and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Miss Lima also publicly proclaims her virginity. From the GQ feature article on her:
She shows up precisely on time — for breakfast. At ten o’clock on a Saturday morning. In Midtown Manhattan. (This alone tells us she is not your average supermodel.) But wait. Adriana Lima, the Brazilian beauty, the ninety-seventh highest-paid famous person in the world according to Forbes, the reason our nephews spank away to Victoria’s Secret catalogs, has plenty of surprises. (Unfortunately, no surprises about her famous ex-boyfriends: We are told ahead of time that any questions about Lenny Kravitz, the model-collecting rocker with whom she was allegedly involved, are “off-limits.” Ditto for Derek Jeter.) But did we mention she’s a virgin? Hey, that’s her story — and she’s stickin’ to it.
Here's hoping she sticks to her guns and provides her future husband with a mighty fine gift on their wedding night.

And then there's this from her GQ interview:
I take it you’re religious?

Yes! I am Catholic. [she pulls out the cardboard scapular hanging around her neck, under her big gray sweater]

Wow. A scapular. Do you go to church?

Of course! Every Sunday.

Is there anything in the teachings of the Catholic Church that you don’t agree with?


Are you pro-life?

What do you mean, pro-life?

How do you feel about abortion?

I think it’s a crime.

Are you a one-guy woman?

Of course! I’m a Catholic.

Look, I’m Catholic, too, but there’s a lot of things about the church that make it hard to date within its rules, don’t you think?

Like what?

Birth control, premarital sex…

Well, you know, sex is just for after marriage.

Say what?

Sex is for after marriage.

Are you saying you’re not going to have sex before marriage?


You mean you’ve never had sex?

That’s why I have to say.

You sure about this?

AWESOME CHICK!!! Tons of inner beauty to match her outer beauty. If I weren't already happily married to Mrs. Anderson, I'd be head-over-heels in love with Miss Adriana Lima. She's going to make someone a very lucky man.

NOTE: Miss Lima apparently isn't too concerned about some of the immodest and quite provocative poses in which she allows herself to be photographed.

FYI. I just showed this post to Mrs. Anderson. Sarah sees nothing wrong with it and says lighten up. She notes that Miss Lima is from Brazil, where showing skin is part of the culture.

UPDATE #2 (25 March 2006):
In hindsight, I should have posted this photo of Miss Lima, rather than the more "revealing" one from the GQ cover.

(Hat tip: Catholic Caveman)

Of course, someone would have objected to this one, as well

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At 3/24/2006 1:08 AM, Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

Very interesting posting Jay. The reporter seemed shocked to find a Catholic who was serious about their faith. Maybe this would have been acceptable to the reporter if the person in question was a 90 year old farm woman, but I think the fact that a wealthy young Brazilian supermodel did not waiver on the Church's message really irked the reporter.

I hope they are embarrassed and ashamed, people like that make all us American Catholics look bad.

I am sure Ms. Lima is much happier with her life than the one night standing-contracpetive popping reporter.

At 3/24/2006 6:24 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Ms. Lima apparently isn't too concerned about some of the immodest and quite provocative poses in which she allows herself to be photographed.

I don't know if it's so much she poses immodestly and provocatively as much as it is her devout Catholic inner beauty is impossible to contain and manifests itself in her every action.

I mean, a burkha would appear immodest on that young lady. Let us thank God for His grace and the beauty of His creation.

At 3/24/2006 7:34 AM, Blogger Zach said...

Jay, I'm kind of surprised by the overall positive note of your post regarding this woman. I'm certainly glad that she conducts her private life according to Catholic norms, but think of the devastating impact that her "work" has had on young boys and men around the world--and on the women who love them.

This is one person whose professed Catholicism should be an embarrassment to us.

At 3/24/2006 8:42 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

As I noted at the bottom of my post, I am less than impressed by much of Miss Lima's work - see, e.g., the immodest and overly provocative poses in the GQ spread. I certainly don't condone that.

However, I don't condemn her for being a beautiful model, or for her work selling underbritches (as Larry calls them) for Victoria's Secret. In fact, I think her work for Victoria's Secret, rather than having a devastating effect on men and the women who love them, probably is a net gain for marriage. I know Victoria's Secret has sure helped mine.

But what I find refreshing about this particular member of the pop culture is her willingness to defend her Catholic Faith despite the interviewer's attempt to belittle that Faith. Her testimony happens to come with some baggage (i.e. less than savory behavior when it comes to posing for photos). But we all bring some of our concupiscent baggage along with our testimony. Thank God we don't have to be perfect in order to testify to the Faith.

At any rate, I'm going to quote the Holy Fool (who was, ironically, defending me for another controversial post) regarding displays of outer beauty by those who also exhibit inner beauty:

"Sexuality is a gift from God. Sexual attraction is an aspect of this gift. Beauty is a crucial component of this attraction. Jay's point, if I read him right, was to demonstrate that the beauty within complements the attractiveness without. He also asserts the opposite: the ugliness within contradicts the attractiveness without... Not all sensuousness is licentious. Let's not confuse sexual attractiveness the gift with the continuum of pornography, the abuse of the gift. In Jay's case, the context makes the difference, and I for one tip my hat to him!"

At 3/24/2006 9:16 AM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

The reporter seemed shocked to find a Catholic who was serious about their faith.
Are you kidding? If she were serious about her faith she wouldn't be doing the kind of modeling that she does.
She's sinning in so many different ways. And she's responsible for the sins of others (hard-up men). So I agree with Zach.

Holy Fool and Jay were defending a slutty looking Zeta-Jones. I'm really shocked by that. She's attractive enough that she doesn't have to stoop to the level she did in the photo. She's basically sold her soul just like Ms. Lima has.

At 3/24/2006 10:06 AM, Blogger The Crescat said...

I agree w/ Zach as well. Causing an occasion of sin is as serious as sinning yourself.

Everything she says is admirable...until you see the photos, then it doesn't matter what comes out her mouth.

You are supposed to be an example of our faith with our words as much as our actions... more so with our actions.

This just reminds me of Brittany Spear's "virginity".

At 3/24/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Zach said...

Thanks, Rhonda. I can't help but be perplexed and dismayed by the characterization of this woman's witness as "refreshing". The only reason that we've ever heard of her is that she spends her professional life posing half-naked.

Her fame, then, is built entirely upon her personal violation of modesty--and thereby chastity (CCC 2520 and following). The title of this post, "Purity Becomes Her" would thus seem to be a terrible and ironic joke. This is more than a little "baggage". She is a person unrepentantly engaged in a career that is leading untold numbers of men and boys into devastating sin.

As for the alleged positive effects of VS advertisements, the marketing of underbritches and such could and should be handled in a discreet, non-exploitative way. The VS advertisements are certainly contrary to Catholic notions of purity.

To me, this situation is akin to lauding John Kerry for "boldly" stating that he is personally opposed to abortion and would never advise his wife to procure one--all the while working publicly to ensure that others can abort to their hearts' delight.

I don't mean to "hate-on" you, Jay, because you know that I respect you, your faith, and your work immensely. I just think you're dead wrong on this issue.

At 3/24/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

I suppose we're just going to have to agree to disagree about this post and Miss Lima, because I'm not pulling it the way I did the one on Mrs. Douglas at Amateur Catholic.

And you'll just have to forgive me if I find what I read in the GQ interview "refreshing". I wasn't the least bit interested in anything about this woman until I read her interview. Supermodel types don't generally do anything for me. It was ONLY after reading her forthright Catholic witness in her interview that I thought "AWESOME CHICK".

As far as "purity becoming her", again, I find Miss Lima to be a much more attractive woman knowing what I know about her profession of the Catholic faith.

I respect all of your opinions, and it troubles me that you might think less of me because of my opinions on this issue, but I will continue to disagree with you on this.

At 3/24/2006 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with those that think Jay has gone too far in his defense of Miss Lima. They are correct that her faithful Catholic answers in the interview does not give Miss Lima a license to pose provocatively and create occasions of sin for the many fallen men out there.

That said, I'm glad Jay brought attention to this article and I very much appreciate Miss Lima's strong answers. She has a ways to go (don't we all), but I hope she remains in the Church and perhaps (with our prayers) she will come around to a fuller understanding of Church teaching. In my opinion, this is a cause well worth praying for. ;)

At 3/24/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

By the way, the "Purity Becomes Her" title of this post was more tongue-in-cheek than anything else. I think maybe we're not really taking this post in the light-hearted manner it was intended.

But that being said, I would like to reiterate what I said in my previous comment: Miss Lima is much more attractive than she otherwise would be because of her profession of faith. In that sense, here "purity" does become her.

At 3/24/2006 12:04 PM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

I was wondering if there were any respectable pictures of Ms. Lima. Why not put one of those up? Oh, maybe she just does sleezy ones?
And Carolina is right, it makes no difference what comes out of her mouth after you see her photos. It's even laughable.
Are some men that easily distracted that they can't really think logically?
Obviously, they are.
(I'm talking about you too, Rick :p)

At 3/24/2006 12:12 PM, Blogger Zach said...

I can't say that I think less of you for this position, Jay, but it damages your credibility when you actively extol the merits of someone who is so clearly Contra Ecclesia & Contra Familia.

Adding that the message was meant to be light-hearted or that we all are sinners--these equivocations don't go far enough when your original comments were that this woman is an "awesome chick" with "tons of inner beauty", whose "purity" is "refreshing".

No more arguments from me (I promise), but I wish you would change your mind and pull the post. God Bless.

At 3/24/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

My saying that the post was meant to be light-hearted WAS NOT an equivocation. It WAS light-hearted - from the very moment I posted it. And anyone familiar with my somewhat ribald sense of humor knows that. I won't defend that aspect of the post anymore - you'll just have to take my word for it.

But it doesn't change the fact that I stand by the post and think that Miss Lima is somewhat extraordinary and indeed "refreshing" for defending her faith in that interview.

At 3/24/2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you pull the post, please don't remove the pic of Ms. Lima

At 3/24/2006 1:49 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Don't worry. I'm not pulling the post or the photo.

At 3/24/2006 3:20 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

I have to echo Jay and Fideo on being favorably impressed by Miss Lima's sentiments, regardless of her photo work.

I'm not sure I would label the photos there as an occasion of sin (at least for me) in that I don't find them particularly attractive. Ms. Lima herself certainly appears to be attractive, but the photos are of a style I don't think a well formed aesthetic sense should find attractive.

However, though I think it would be good if Ms. Lima exerted better caution and taste in her choice of assignments, I don't think this represents the sort of photography the participation in which is inherrently a matter of mortal sin in the way that porn per se is. One error I think we conservative Catholics sometimes fall into is placing too much emphasis on "how dare you create an occasion of sin" and not enough on "how about if we just resist temptation". Lust is, at the end of the day, one's own sin. And while it's important to protect oneself from situations which may lead one into that sin, it's also important to understand that it's oneself that sins, not the occasion.

(pats self on back for writing over blown analytical prose on very trivial matter)

At 3/24/2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

What Darwin said. Thanks.

At 3/24/2006 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering where her scapular is in that picture, or in any of her borderline-pornographic pictures?
Really, the picture Jay put up is very modest in comparison to her others.

The interviewer had every right to be shocked when she said she was a virgin.
Her poses are very scandalous and suggestive.

Darwin, at the end of the day we are responsible for our own sins and those we have caused others to commit. Lust being one.

At 3/24/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...


Don't forget that I posted a link to a picture just especially for you and Rhonda not so long ago. You didn't seem to mind that one so much.

At 3/24/2006 5:49 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Wow. A firestorm. Well Jay, I'd love to come to your defense, but I'm not so sure my casual attitude about such matters will carry much weight with your detractors.

So trying to be somewhat serious about this thing I think it's all not much of an issue, but it has escelated into one. A little less fleshy photo may not have solicited as critical of a response (people do have different sensibilities), but it sucks for you that you're in a position of seemingly having to defend immodesty. I don't think for a minute that you think chicks should run around like tramps, but I don't think that you're scandalized by every bit of flesh you see either.

We are to live in the world but not be part of the world. Obviously you're taking a rap for "living in the world", but I know that you were having some fun about the world and sincerely impressed that a young beautiful girl who is in and PART of such a poor environment has some virtue - strong virtue at that.

Last I heard even Catholic girls have a disturbing rate of pre-marital sex. Now none of this is to say that all that this girls is doing is good or even morally neutral, but what virtue she does possess is remarkable considering her circumstances.

There really are two issues of her professional behavior that are being lumped into one thing. First is the immodest dress. Yes it's immodest. Yes, immodesty is bad. No, immodesty is not the worse thing someone can do. For most of us to criticize her on the immodesty angle would be hypocritical. Who hasn't worn a bathing suit? Who doesn't wear shorts in the summer? The fact of the matter is that those things are immodest. Our Lady of Fatima criticized the fashions of 1917. Imagine what she's thinking about all of us. Fortunately, God knows that we are born into a culture and are both victims and participants in it and while bathing suits (even one piece) will always be immodest, it doesn't mean a girl is being mortally sinful for wearing one.

Like Rhonda expressed to me, the big fault with Ms. Lima is the provocative nature of much of her work. I can't argue against that. However, I can keep it in perspective and not appreciate that she is at least pro-life, Catholic, waiting for marriage, and wearing a scapular. Hypocrtical? Not necessarily. What she's doing very well may not be a mortal sin. Mortal sin requires that it be a grave matter and that the person knows it is, gives reflection on it and chooses to do it anyway. We can objectively identify a behavior as bad, but it doesn't mean the perpetrator does. That part is not our call.

I have another observation to follow.

At 3/24/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Other observation:

Who among us isn't a fan of Mel Gibson? I am. He's a pretty good guy now, but even before his full conversion (reversion), he had many personal faults but was still a fairly decent guy. Especially by Hollywood standards! We would look to him as one of the few lights of decency in his industry.

However, he became rich and famous by playing immodest (even went nude if I'm not mistaken - eww), fornicating uber-violent characters (and there was pro-abortion propaganda in those movies). His personal life was a mess. But he was a professed Catholic, conservative, married only once and had 7 kids, so most of us held him up as a decent guy in a world of filth. I still respect the far-from-perfect Mel more than most Hollywood types.

There's not much difference in the two examples other than this young lady seems to have a better handle on her personal life and virtues.

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things none of this seems terribly important to me. I understand the concerns and don't dismiss them...they are valid...but I don't think Jay is off base commending the virtue that the young lady does posess. I'm getting off my soap box now and going to see if there is a picture of Ms. Lima wearing more than 3 ounces of clothing...

At 3/24/2006 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to pretty much agree with Zach, Rhonda and company. Modesty is to a certain extent culturally relative. What was immodest in Victorian England was not and is not immodest in warmer climates, or less prudish/more prurient ages in England for that matter (to take an extreme example, the exposing of the female ankle). Since Brazil is a hot climate that might be at the root of this problem.

That said, I can't imagine the pose in the picture on this page — and those taken in the others pictures — could ever legitimately be considered not slutty. Her body language screams "You-Know-What me!" which is, of course, exactly what GQ and her other clients want her body language to say. While it is good that she wants to save herself for marriage, her work pretty much ruins any example she might set. Those hiring her for such spreads want to cause near occasions of sin for the men that look at them. It's kinda hard to believe she doesn't know that.

At 3/24/2006 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I would label the photos there as an occasion of sin (at least for me) in that I don't find them particularly attractive. Ms. Lima herself certainly appears to be attractive, but the photos are of a style I don't think a well formed aesthetic sense should find attractive.

Keep in mind that most men, especially young men, don't have their sex drive as well integrated with their aesthetic sensibility (assuming such is well developed to begin with) as you evidently do.

At 3/24/2006 6:33 PM, Blogger Zach said...

I just showed this post to Mrs. Brissett, and she was not happy. She says I'm not allowed to play over here anymore. ;)

At 3/24/2006 7:13 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Well, Mrs. Anderson doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

Maybe the Anderson consciences are ill-formed, or maybe it's because this kind of stuff doesn't elicit lust on my part. Whatever.

The only near occasion of sin on my part as a result of this post is that I'm afraid I could have played a little nicer in the comboxes than what I have.

At 3/24/2006 7:35 PM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

I don't think you're being a poor sport at all, Jay. And I hope you really aren't taking this to mean that we all don't love you anymore. You know we do.
Speaking for myself, I was just enjoying the points being made on both sides.
Gosh, I have this kind of discussion on a regular basis. Remember who I'm married to. :)

At 3/24/2006 7:47 PM, Blogger Maureen said...

I have to say I am with Rhonda and the other "Puritans" on this one.


At 3/24/2006 7:51 PM, Blogger mrsdarwin said...

I'm a bit surprised that some would jump to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what Miss Lima says because of her photo shoot. Doesn't matter? In GQ magazine? Miss Lima has just positively and accurately represented Catholic teaching to readers who have possibly never heard it before, and who might dismiss any discussion of the matter if it didn't come from a girl as beautiful as she is. I would consider that a witness, and a brave one, judging by the attitude of the reporter. Absolutely it matters what she says, just as it would matter if she lived an unobjectionable life in all other regards but gave interviews to magazines talking about how archaic or irrelevant Catholic teaching was.

Frankly, I think the photo shoot was of neglible artistic value, but I sure wish I looked like Miss Lima!

You go, Jay. I don't have any objections to Darwin reading your site :)

At 3/24/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Zach said...

You know I was just kidding about not being able to play here and all. Mrs. Brissett and I both thought you'd get a kick out of that after you added the "seal of spousal approval" note to the main post.

She did agree with me on this issue, but neither of us plans to curtail our frequent enjoyment of your fine blog. In fact, she may be visiting more frequently than ever just to make sure that I'm not exposed to too many naughty pictures. :)

At 3/24/2006 9:02 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

No offense taken. I knew when I posted it that some would take issue with it.

Did everyone happen to see the birth announcement?

At 3/24/2006 9:41 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Wow, Jay. When was the last time you topped 30 comments?

I find the level of interest generated by this post, even from the lesser gender, to be quite interesting. I'm not sure what to make of it.


warning: middle aged woman with sleeveless dress alert - clicker beware.

At 3/25/2006 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Miss Lima's intention for posing for VS was to sell 'underbritches', then she is most definitely NOT responsible for what horny men do with those pictures. You are NOT responsible for sins that others commit. A guy who makes shoes is not responsible for the shoe fettish freak. A woman who is showering in her apartment is not responsible for the peeping Tom. If Miss Lima were to pose for Playboy or Penthouse (does that still exist?), whose purpose is to provide visual stimulastion, then she would be responsible for the sins she causes. I think that she is so attractive, that her appearance in a brown paper bag could be provacative for some perv.

At 3/25/2006 5:41 PM, Blogger Kevin Whiteman said...

OK, no one can yell at me. I came right out in my posting concerning young Miss Lima and said it... "SHE'S HOT!!!"

I'm Catholic, not castrated. And besides, pics of her SHOULD be shown. Why? Like I also said on my posting, "How can ANYONE be an atheist!? There's no way in the world that this chick just "fell into place".

*evil grin firmly in place*

At 3/25/2006 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems all has been said already, but I have to say that I am with Jay. Honestly, she's clothed and sitting on a beach. Botticelli would have painted her with much less! As my father, a very conservative scholar on JPII's theology of the body, used to say when he say a woman of Lima's beauty: "That woman needs a good man!"

At 3/25/2006 9:00 PM, Blogger Zach said...

I'm breaking my promise because many of you are going well beyond Jay's original point, which was to express appreciation for Ms. Lima's comments. Many of you actually seem to be defending her work as acceptable for a professing Catholic. Enough!

Can any of you seriously think that JPII or B16, or any of the saints would have anything good to say about this woman's professional photographs? They wouldn't have even allowed themselves to look at them.

As St. Josemaria wrote: "To defend his purity, St. Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, St. Benedict threw himself into a thornbush, St. Bernard plunged into an icy pond . . . You . . . what have YOU done?"

The Catechism, the Bible, and 2,000 years of Church Tradition makes clear that immodesty is a sin against chastity in that it presents an occasion of sin to others. Yes, we are called to resist when presented with temptation, but we are just as much charged with not creating temptation for others.

Sure lots of women look at the VS catalogs in order to purchase undergarments, but it is well-known that just as many men and boys look see the catalogs as soft-core porn. (my wife just did a bit of research on her, and found that she has indeed done topless photos for other publications)

I thought we Catholics condemned pornography in the strongest language. I thought we were the protectors of the family, of purity, of holiness. I thought other Christians looked to us for guidance on these issues. I thought we prided ourselves on battling the dictatorship of moral relativism.

Yet I've read a shocking number of cavalier posts on this board--"Hey, she's hot, what's the big deal?" "She's not responsible for how others respond to her half-naked pictures." You people should be ashamed, and you'd better hope that no potential converts have stumbled across this thread.

All throughout my childhood as a Protestant, I heard family members repeat the mantra, "All those Catholics do is smoke, drink, cuss, and raise hell 6 days a week--and then go to church on Sunday." I had to work hard to overcome those engrained stereotypes in my own mind during my conversion to the Church, and I'm still trying to overcome them with those same Protestant family members.

Seriously folks, we can represent the faith (and Our Lord) better than this. I still just can't believe the conversation has gone this way. I thought this was a black and white issue for Catholics, but apparently I was wrong, and I'm awfully depressed about it.

I wonder if you'll think it's a such a minor issue if--God forbid--you walk in on your 13-year-old son spanking away while looking at this wonderful Catholic lady. Later you may discover that such funny little pics led him to more hard-core porn and a life-long addiction that wrecks his life. Are you going to think it's no big deal then? Wake up, for the love of God!

At 3/25/2006 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would any of you dudes with the well-formed consciences want your wives or daughters posing like this?

Does Our Lady want her children posing like this or looking at such pictures?

VS catalogs may be a net gain for "marriages" but not for holy matrimony.

At 3/25/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

VS catalogs may be a net gain for "marriages" but not for holy matrimony.


All I know is that Sarah appreciated the big, green, fluffy bathrobe I bought for her out of the Victoria's Secret catalog. And I can't say for sure, but I'd bet the woman who was modelling it in the catalog may have had her birthday suit on underneath it.


At 3/26/2006 1:29 AM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

I saw some of her photos too. And I don't think one of them is in good taste as far as modesty goes. Zach and his wife are right, they are soft-porn.

I'm not sure why the term "puritan" is being thrown out there. If it means that I know the difference between what is right in the eyes of God as far as modesty goes, then ok, call me a puritan. But I think I'm in good company.

I'm a sinner, but I know what a sin is and when I'm comitting it. I would think that Ms. Lima, being a Catholic, does too.

She obviously picks and chooses what Catholic teaching she agrees with or is going to abide by.

We all live in this world where we're tempted by many different things. She isn't any different than anyone else is as far as being tempted goes.

Also, wearing a bathing suit for the purpose of swimming is a whole lot different than posing in a bathing suit with your legs spread, for the sole purpose of what? I don't even know what the purpose is.

That's it. I'm going to bed now.

Oh, and yes we are responsible for the sins of others if it's our actions that cause them to sin. That doesn't mean that the sinner isn't responsible as well.

At 3/26/2006 7:17 AM, Blogger Kevin Whiteman said...

Jay, just to let you know... concerning the pic you got from my blog, I want to let you and the rest of the world to know what I went through to get that!

Page after page after page of an image search! Picture after picture after picture of young Miss Lima prancin' about in here skivvie drawers (or underbritches is acceptable).

The HORRORS OF IT ALL!!! I'm traumamatized, I tells ya! I think I'm going to have to start attending AA (Adriana Anonymous). I can hear it now... "Hi, I'm Caveman, and I'm an Adrianaholic".

Should I reserve a seat for Rick and Jay as well?

At 3/26/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Thanks Caveman,

But I don't have a problem with my appreciation of a hot Caramelite, though Rhonda claims I'm just in denial.

She's organizing an intervention or something.

At 3/26/2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Honestly, Caveman, apart from Miss Lima's answers in the GQ interview, she doesn't really do it for me. She's definitely beautiful, but I wouldn't have given her a second look apart from that interview.

There is much in Zach's last comment with which I agree. But I think it is misdirected at catalogs of women modelling underwear. That's not to say that some of the other photos out there of Miss Lima don't push beyond the bounds of decency. I am of the opinion that many of her poses are grossly immodest.

I still don't believe that her answers in the GQ interview should be ignored or treated as hypocricy.

Furthermore, I am very familiar with the Protestant perception of Catholics that Zach writes about, being a convert myself and having heard the lies about Catholics all my life. That being said (and I'm going to say something that is going to be controversial because it will be misconstrued), I think much of the Protestant misconception about Catholics arises from an imperfect understanding and appreciation of the Incarnation.

Protestants view mankind, human nature, and creation as irredeemably fallen. They view Christ as a prism through which the Father supposedly can view His creation without seeing its fallen nature. Under the Protestant view, the flesh is inherently evil.

That's not the Catholic view. Catholics see the Incarnation of Christ as the Second Adam as restoring the inherent dignity of God's Creation. That's not to say that we can't piss away that dignity by succumbing to things like pornography. But it does mean that the flesh that Christ took upon himself isn't inherently evil.

Zach is right in many of the things he has written, but I hope we're not at the point where any depiction of the female (or male) form in a state of undress is viewed as something that is sinful. I don't believe that it is, nor do I believe that all depictions of sensuousness and sexuality are inherently sinful.

And please don't view my statements here as somehow blasphemously using the Incarnation to justify immodesty or pornographic depictions. That's most definitely NOT what I'm saying.

At 3/26/2006 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to dispense with the chit-chat and post more pics of Ms. Lima.

At 3/26/2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Jay, I appreciate your comments. I, too, highly value the incarnational teachings of Catholicism. It means I get to receive untold graces from God through the means of material world. I get to dip my finger in holy water, enjoy crucifixes and beautiful religious art, and run my fingers over the rosary. All these things I could not comfortably do as a Protestant.

I fail to see any connection to the current controversy, however. No one here is denying the fact that Ms. Lima is a beautiful woman from head to toe. That is God's gift to her and to her future husband--should God bless her with one. God did not give her the gift of a lovely figure so that she could share it with the world and thereby inflame its passions.

The Catechism reads:

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means REFUSING TO UNVEIL WHAT SHOULD REMAIN HIDDEN. . .

2522 . . . Modesty is decency. IT INSPIRES ONE'S CHOICE OF CLOTHING. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. IT PROTESTS, FOR EXAMPLE, AGAINST THE VOYEURISTIC EXPLORATIONS OF THE HUMAN BODY IN CERTAIN ADVERTISEMENTS, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on AN ERRONEOUS CONCEPTION OF HUMAN FREEDOM; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law.
(Emphasis added)

Do not these passages make the issue crystal clear for us? If VS advertisements aren't condemned by 2523, then it must be a purely hypothetical paragraph--the only way the ads could be worse if if the models were fully naked and engaged in sexual acts.

We all need to cultivate the "modesty of feelings" to which these passages call us, and we therefore need to "protest" Ms. Lima's body of work. Her comments are great when seen in a vacuum, but when seen in relation to her profession, they can't help but cause scandal among the faithful.

At 3/26/2006 4:16 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

It seems like there are three different questions at issue here (various sub-questions as well, but even I have to stop somewhere):

1) Are all images which expose all or most of the human body immodest and/or pornographic.

2) Are Miss Lima's photos immodest and/or pornographic.

3) Is there any value to someone who poses in photos such as Miss Lima's voicing support for Catholic moral teaching in regards to sex before marriage, birth control and abortion.

On 1), it seems to me clear that in image of the nude or semi-nude numan body (painting, sculpture of photo) can be an expression of the beauty of God's creation rather than simply an invitation to lust (which is not to say that people overly disposed to lust may not respond to the Venus of Urbino with lust rather than appreciation for beauty). I would further argue that such an image may contain elements of the sensual (in the sense of being a piece of art emphasizing the beauty of sensuality) while not being immodest or pornographic.

Clearly, a piece of artwork celebrating the human body is more subject to abuse than a piece of artwork celebrating the country landscape -- just as a good scotch is more subject to abuse than a good steak. I would not allow my teenage son to decorate his room with renaissance nudes (though I would also not prevent him from seeing them at all -- it's having them always on hand in his room that would worry me) any more than I would let him keep a liquor cabinet in his room.

2) Although I don't think that pictures of a woman naked or in underwear and necessarily immodest, I do think that some of Miss Lima's are. Many of the photos are clearly composed with the object of provoking desire. I wouldn't call them pornographic, but I would call them immodest and in poor taste. But that's not purely a function of what she is wearing in the photos, but rather my opinion of the composition of some of the photos. (If your question is: If those aren't pornographic, what is? then I must congratulate you on your good fortune. I spent long enough working in a sales office with a bunch of sex obsessed middle-aged men to have a pretty good idea what real porn looks like...)

3) Although I think that some of Miss Lima's work constitutes either a venial sin and/or a cooperation with sin, I think there is actually a fair amount of value to her witness in two senses. Firstly, in the personal sense, it's certainly better her soul and life that she live by the Church's teachings on sex, birth control and abortion than not. That much is clear.

Secondly, while Zach and Jay have already talked about the possible reaction to this kind of thing by potential evangelical converts, I'd like to point out that at the other end of the spectrum there are a number of potential converts immersed in the secular world for whom this may indeed be a very helpful witness.

One of the most common objections to Catholicism that I'm used to hearing from non-Catholics is "the Church just hates sex" or "you Catholics would feel differently if you could get any" or "yeah, whatever. I'm sure all the hot Catholic girls go out and do it anyway."

There are probably a lot more of these types of people reading GQ than there are strict evanglicals considering Catholicism, and for these people hearing Miss Lima's words may help to plant the seed that the Church doesn't just hate sex, and many Catholics could get plenty if they wanted it, but that the Catholic Church provides a positive vision of what sex is and what it is for.

That doesn't make those parts of Miss Lima's body of work (no pun intended...) which are immodest any better, but it does produce a positive outcome from a questionable beginning. And that's all to the good.

At 3/26/2006 4:41 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Darwin, my question was not "if VS pics aren't pornographic, I don't know what is," but rather an appeal to 2523, which calls us to protest indecent advertisements.

One would have to leave the U.S. to find more objectionable advertisements than those put out by Ms. Lima and her employer. My question was, are we not obliged under CCC 2523 to protest these ads, not simply say, "Yea, I guess they're not the best, but when the naked girl is Catholic, they attract GQ readers to the faith--so it's all good!"

So, in this scenario, are we going to have a group of converts coming into the faith who think posing spread eagle in one's underdrawers is a-okay, as long as one talks the talk (and doesn't personally hop into bed with anyone)? Because that's the impression Ms. Lima is giving.

At 3/26/2006 6:22 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

I may be the wrong person to answer that one, in that I'm not sure that I've ever had my hands on a VS catalog. I did order things for MrsD off their website a couple times, and if the catalog is like the website I'd tend to say that VS is much less objectionable than places like Abercrombie & Fitch (sp?).

However, as I said, I do think that many of Miss Lima's photographs are in poor taste or immodest. I assume that the provocative nature of such a photograph (going beyond what is necessary to model underwar and showcase human beauty) is what the catechism is calling "VOYEURISTIC EXPLORATIONS OF THE HUMAN BODY IN CERTAIN ADVERTISEMENTS".

So it's almost that our disagreement is more in degree than kind. Unless, that is, you would tend to disagree with my conclusions on point one and would say that any depiction of an unclothed or slightly clothed person is immoral.

At 3/26/2006 7:00 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Darwin, I appreciate your comments. I certainly would not object to all depictions of the human body in a state of undress. At the most obvious level, something like an anatomy textbook is a clear example of an instance in which such images supply mankind with a great good.

I guess the VS ads (and I realize now that you haven't personally seen them) seem so clear to me because of the following:

A. They are not meant to be artistic works.
B. Much of the clothing modeled is extremely skimpy and is specifically designed to excite one's partner
C. The models are posed in unecessarily provocative and suggestive poses.
D. The clothing could easily be marketed without such photos (albeit probably less successfully)
E. The ads are well-known as the "marijuana" of pornography--in that they actually are widely abused in acts of impurity (remember the spanker nephew reference in the GQ blurb?), and their enjoyment often leads to seeking porn proper.

I'm sure there are other considerations besides these, but these alone should be enough to dissuade a Catholic from posing for such pictures (in Ms. Lima's case) or commenting favorably upon them (in our cases).

At 3/26/2006 7:42 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

"I guess the VS ads (and I realize now that you haven't personally seen them) ..."

Uh-uh, Zach. You're not going to let Darwin off that easy. The pictures at the website are EXACTLY like the ones in the catalog. He's seen the pictures.

At 3/26/2006 9:11 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

So, being the warm and fuzzy kind of guy that I am. I'm looking over the scorecard to find those warm and fuzzy spots where everyone is in agreement. The only thing that everyone seems to agree completely on is that Ms. Lima is pretty darn hot looking.

Looks like yet one more global crisis that St. Blog's has failed solve.


At 3/26/2006 9:56 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, Jay. :)

I'm about worn out, dudes. Y'all are tough nuts to crack.

I won't be back on my home PC until tomorrow night, and I'd better not check this thread at work tomorrow. Wouldn't want my employer to fire me for attempting to view indecent photos. "But come on, boss, she's a good Catholic--that's just her way of evangelizing . . . really!" ;)

God Bless.

At 3/26/2006 10:17 PM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

LMAO, Zach. Too good!

At 3/27/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

See, my employer is much more helpful than Zach's. They automatically block any photos from GQ, so Jay's link just doesn't come through. Very handy.

Ya know, I may be the most cold blooded man on earth, but I don't recall particularly noticing people being splayed and enticing last time I bought something for MrsD on the VS website. Just looked like underwear to me...

But then, maybe I was just singlemindedly focused on birthday-present-buying.

At 3/27/2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Darwin, I, too, was just looking for a bathrobe. I didn't notice anyone doing anything I would consider soft-core porn.

I suppose the whole VS portion of this discussion comes down to whether or not an ad for women's underwear should show women wearing underwear.

But since newspaper circulars and J.C. Penney's catalogs also carry such pictures of women modelling bras and panties, it's not a VS-exclusive matter.

Okay, I suppose the super-models appearing in VS are arguably more attractive than those modelling undergarments for newspaper circulars. But surely we're not arguing that it's okay to show unattractive people in a state of undress, but not attractive people, because some weak soul somewhere in the world is more likely to sin while viewing a picture of an attractive person.

At 3/27/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the hottest site on the Web. Do I need a credit card for access?

At 3/27/2006 12:32 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

New controversy: Has the underwear section of Lands End or LL Bean caused you to sin?


At 3/27/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...


At 3/27/2006 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes you do, local man.
But, I handle all of that stuff for Jay.
Just email me your credit card number. Be sure to use the credit
card that has the highest credit limit and don't forget your ss number
Hurry, I want to order some things from VS so I can be a better Catholic girl.

At 3/27/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...


I don't know if ordering things from VS will make you a better Catholic girl, but neither will it necessarily make you a worse one.

At 3/27/2006 9:17 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Good evening, folks. First, I have no problem with saying that all modeling of undergarments is extremely risky business for a Catholic. Even purely functional undergarments are termed UNDERgarments for a reason--we feel compelled by modesty to hide them beneath our regular clothes.

Let's just say that if one of my daughters grows up and wants to model granny panties for JC Penney, I'll be very upset and worried that she's being at least imprudent.

Now, moving beyond purely functional undergarments to the ornamental underwear marketed by VS (among others), the issue becomes even clearer. When worn, these articles of intimate apparel are specifically designed to excite sexual desire in those who view them. The very nature and purpose of these garments (inherently and intentionally sexy) makes them inappropriate attire for models. If they have their intended effect on those who view such models, a sin has been committed.

VS ads, however, don't simply let the garments do the talking. The models are posed seductively and suggestively--I don't know how else to put it. I realize that some of you claim to have never seen such aspects of VS's ads. "Aren't they just a marketer of geriatric bathrobes?" some of you seem to wonder. If you truly have never encountered a VS ad, let's just say they're about on par with the GQ photo Jay posted--and that's being charitable. Surely this kind of advertisement is unchaste and immoral. Protestations that the models might not be aware that they are trying to excite lust are laughable in the extreme.

This should be a no-brainer for us, and for those of you who maintain that you aren't personally tempted by or attracted to Ms. Lima and her ilk, please show some imagination and realize the following:

A. This issue transcends your personal preferences. There are obviously millions of people who think these models are sexy (else they wouldn't be supermodels) and would gladly take sinful pleasure in seeing them in a provocatively-posed state of undress.

B. It is not wise to test your own limits in this matter. The spiritual writers are not so flippant as some of you would be. My own favorite, St. Francis de Sales writes: "Be very quick to turn away from whatever leads or allures to lewd conduct, for this evil works without our knowing it and from small beginnings moves on to great difficulties. Such things are always easier to avoid than to cure."

Are we so modern and enlightened that we--though we live in a culture far more dangerous than that of St. Francis--can casually disregard our duty to strictly guard our eyes and hearts? Will we also fail to acknowledge the serious sin of the one who through her immodesty makes that vigilance more difficult?

At 3/27/2006 10:01 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Mrs. Brissett thinks I went too far in condemning the JC Penney granny panty models. She claims that the women-folk need to be able to see pictures of the underwears on a model in order to get a proper fit.

I answered, "I never had to look at Jim Palmer in order to buy my Fruit of the Loom." She said, "It's different for the ladies." I'll take her word for it and amend my last comment accordingly.

At 3/28/2006 10:17 AM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

"Protestations that the models might not be aware that they are trying to excite lust are laughable in the extreme."

And in the case of Ms. Lima, to say that she might not be aware that what she is doing is sinful is also very silly. How low would her IQ have to be for that to be the truth? Probably about the same number as her bra size.

I have more, but the children are being naughty.

At 3/28/2006 12:37 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

And here I thought bra sizes went by letters...

For what it's worth, Rhonda and Zach, I don't think anyone is asserting that it is a posive moral good that Ms. Lima posses immodestly, nor that it is not a sin for her to do so. (There may be variance on the gravity of the sin, but leave that aside for a moment.)

To the extent that people are impressed with her comments, I think one of the main elements is surprise (and pleasure) to hear acceptance of these Church teachings from such an unexpected source. If someone had interviewed a very conservative Catholic girl whose most revealing outfit is an ankle-length denim jumper and sneakers, and she had given the same answers -- it would have been equally pleasing, but far less surprising.

Based on what one normally reads about people in her profession, one would expect Ms. Lima sleeping with everything in sight while sniffing lines of coke off her makeup mirror and (if she bothered to think about the world at all) giving a shout-out to some Culture-of-Death approved organization like NOW. (Which is the main reason, Zach, why I wouldn't want to see any daughter of mine become a model -- much more than the question of modestly -- it's an insanely unhealthy social environment with lots of temptations to sins far worse than posing in underwear.)

Thus, hearing her claim to accept Church teaching on pre-marital sex, birth control and abortion is surprising and gratifying. If she has and continues to keep to her stated principles, I'm sure that requires a fair amount of moral character given the environment in which she lives and works.

As for the dissonence between those principles and the rest of her work -- perhaps Dr. Johnson's comment about the lady preacher applies: The wonder is not that it is done well, but that it is done at all.

At 3/28/2006 3:38 PM, Blogger rhonda lugari said...

"And here I thought bra sizes went by letters..."
Well, my size includes both numbers and letters.

I agree with most of what you said, Darwin.

I disagree with those who think that there isn't anything wrong with the way she poses, or it isn't that big of a deal since she states she believes in some of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

I also disagree that she doesn't know that she's being immodest and doesn't realize her pictures probably aren't doing anything to help her get to heaven.

And for Rick, no I don't think Jesus is going to make an exception for Ms. Lima. :p

At 3/28/2006 5:09 PM, Blogger Christine the Soccer Mom said...

Good golly, I'm gone for a week and I have to read comments on one post for half an hour! How will the laundry get done this way?

After reading all 63 comments, I ahve to say that I do have a problem with the suggestive poses VS uses (and their TV ads are really steamy, to put it lightly). I also can tell you that I happened across one of their catalogs about 25 or more years ago, and I can tell you that they are TAME today compared to before. (They actually used to have a was very much like soft porn.) Yes, I was really, really young. I didn't know what it was that I found (relative's house), and I perused it a bit...VS has actually toned it down, if you ask me. Not that it makes it okay.

However, I also went and read the article. (Sorry, I didn't go searching for pictures.) That reporter was VERY focused on trying to get Lima to admit that she is not as pure as she says she is (and just how pure is up to Someone else to judge, not me - I've got way too much baggage in that area). I do wish she wasn't posing nearly nekkid, but at the very least, she was pretty straight-forward about how she feels about sex, marriage, and Mass, even if she comes off as a Sunday Catholic to more devout folks.

Also, someone mentioned that the readership of GQ might be different than assenting Catholics and Evangelicals. This is very true. Now, I'm sure a better picture of the Catholic faith can be painted than this, but you know something? God can use ANYTHING to bring people to His Church! How many of you would be willing to believe that a man could be converted to the One True Church because of his contracepting, immodest dressing, sex-before-marriage having, porn-indulging wife? Or that The DaVinci Code might have something to do with it? I know someone personally, and in case you are worried about his wife, she is reformed and an assenting Catholic now. (At least I try to be.)

Look, I know it's immodest for her to pose that way, but let's at the very least give her a little credit for sticking to her guns in an interview that obviously turned antagonistic. And maybe she, too, will become more assenting in your eyes.

At 3/28/2006 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hrm, does she have a fan mail address or something similar? not that we should deluge her with letters, but perhaps someone could write her a letter encouraging her to grow in the faith and to reconsider her career choice

at the very least we should pray for her and other Catholics involved with the entertainment industry, modelling, etc.--so many of them have fallen away from the Church, and their actions have a profound effect on 'pop' culture

At 3/28/2006 7:12 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Christine, I can go along with that. Besides, Mrs. Brissett is beginning to think that I "doth protest too much." I guess I'd better quit while I'm ahead. Thank you all for an interesting discussion. God Bless.


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