ROME, Italy. Angered by what they consider a decline in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, a splinter group of Roman Catholic traditionalists has formed a new schism within the church that will worship “Extra Virgin Mary”.
“We need a new Mary for a new age,” says the cult’s leader, Antonio d’Erario. “Not just a virgin–an extra virgin.”
The term “extra virgin” is used to refer to the highest quality olive oil. “Extra virgin olive oil is characterized by perfect flavor and odor and a maximum acidity of 1%,” says Rocco Donatelli, an olive buyer for the del O’rro brand of food products. “Regular olive oil is like Madonna–like a virgin, but not the real thing.”
Worship of the Blessed Virgin is particularly strong in this predominantly Catholic country, where virginity until marriage or sexual intercourse, whichever comes first, is common. “This Madonna–she had sex with Dennis Rodman,” notes cult member Donna de Varonna. “You might as well drink out of a urinal,” she says as she spits on the ground.
British bookmakers, who will lay odds on nearly any proposition, peg the new faith as a 5-1 shot to overtake Episcopalianism and other high-income Protestant denominations within a year. “We were short on Scientology, and look what happened to us,” says bookie Reg Winstall of Liverpool. “They wiped us out when they crushed the Presbyterians last year.”
There is no comparable Marian cult in America, although coeds at Southern colleges often undergo a transformation that they claim makes them “born-again” virgins. “I kinda had sex with Jimmy Ray Lester after a Sigma Nu party once,” says Mary Louise Mulleneau, a sophomore at Southern Methodist University. “Then I met Lee Twitchell, Jr., whose daddy owns a bunch of hotels and stuff. I asked the girls in my sorority, and they said if you change your mind about a date it doesn’t count.”