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Map of Virgin's shrine offers pilgrims sex ads
May 14, 2007 / 12:12 PM / 10 years ago

Map of Virgin's shrine offers pilgrims sex ads

<p>Fatima's Shrine is seen during a snowfall on the Sanctuary of Fatima, central Portugal January 29, 2006. Pilgrims to the holy shrine in Portugal are being given free maps of the site that show the Virgin Mary on one side and adverts for sex objects and aphrodisiacs on the other. REUTERS/Nacho Doce</p>

LISBON (Reuters) - Pilgrims to a holy shrine in Portugal are being given free maps of the site that show the Virgin Mary on one side and adverts for sex objects and aphrodisiacs on the other.

The maps, thought up by an advertising company, have raised eyebrows among the Catholic faithful and ire from the authorities at the popular Sanctuary of Fatima.

“The map is not official and makes the wrong use of the picture of the Virgin Mary,” a shrine spokeswoman said on Friday.

“The Sanctuary is saddened and will carry out the necessary measures to end its distribution.”

Thousands of pilgrims are expected to travel on foot to Fatima on May 13 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside near the town, 120 km (75 miles) north of Lisbon.

About 3.5 million people flock to the shrine every year. One of the children who reported to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary later became a nun and is said to have foretold the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981. The pontiff later placed one of the bullets that nearly killed him in the crown of the statue of Fatima.

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