New Mexico newspaper taking heat for bikini-clad Virgin of Guadalupe

Cartoon shows Our Lady of Guadalupe in bikini

It's one of the most cherished and respected images for Catholics. But a New Mexico newspaper is under fire for publishing a cartoon of a woman, bearing a resemblance to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports the Santa Fe Reporter chose the image as the cover design for their "Summer Guide 2013" issue.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is wearing sunglasses, barely covered in a two piece and sipping a drink. There's even a bare-chested cowboy right behind her.

"They seem to be posing her as the Virgin of Guadalupe and that's the biggest sham alive," said David Rodke, a New Mexico Catholic. "That's blasphemous."

Alexa Shirtzinger, editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, made the following blog post in response to the controversy:

"The intent of our Summer Guide cover design was not to insult or denigrate any religion or ethnicity, but rather to incorporate an important part of Santa Fe's culture into an image that also unites other diverse cultures that flourish in our city."

Despite several online comments from readers who are demanding that the picture be removed from the site, Shirtzinger is standing by the image.

The Santa Fe Reporter distributes nearly 20,000 copies each week.

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