Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,039 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican denounces 'manipulative' use of Pope's image in Benetton ad campaign

Catholic World News - November 16, 2011

The Vatican has lodged a protest against a new Benetton ad campaign that features a doctored photo of Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian Islamic leader.

Benetton—a company with a history of provocative ads—has launched a new campaign with the slogan “unhate.” The campaign features images of various world leaders locked in romantic embraces with their rivals. Pope Benedict and Sheik Ahmad al Tayyib form one of the couples; others include Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez; Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

Sheik al Tayyib is the head of the Al Azhar University in Cairo: the world’s leading institution of Sunni Islamic thought. The Al Azhar mosque had been a partner in dialogue for the Vatican until this year, when the Egyptian institution broke off all talks with the Holy See, claiming that Pope Benedict had insulted Egypt by insisting that the nation’s Christian minority deserves protection. An oversized poster of the photo showing the Pope and the Egyptian sheik was draped over a bridge across the Tiber River near the Vatican until officials removed it.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, complained that the retouched photo was “manipulated and instrumentalized” for the ad campaign. This “completely unacceptable” use of the Pope’s image showed a “grave lack of respect,” he said. Father Lombardi hinted that the Vatican might consider legal action.

Benetton responded quickly to the protests with an announcement that it was pulling the image of the Pope from the "unhate" campaign.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,568 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,432.05
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: koinonia - Nov. 17, 2011 7:11 AM ET USA

    A disturbing image in a disturbing time when there seems to be no limit to pushing the envelope of inappropriateness and indecency. Creepy.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Nov. 17, 2011 12:05 AM ET USA

    Repulsive!

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 17 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 19 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6