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Vatican warns against misuse of Pope’s image, Holy See’s symbols

February 22, 2017

The office of the Vatican’s Secretary of State has issued a statement warning against the misuse of the Pope’s image.

Prompted by reporters’ questions as to whether this warning was a reaction to posters that appeared in Rome recently, criticizing Pope Francis, the Vatican issued a follow-up statement saying that the announcement did not “originate from any recent news story.”

The Secretariat of State “includes among its responsibilities the protection of the image of the Holy Father, so that his message may reach the faithful intact, and so that his person is not exploited,” the office said in a February 22 statement.

“For the same reasons, the Secretariat of State safeguards all symbols and official coats of arms of the Holy See via the appropriate regulatory instruments at international level,” the statement continued.

The office warned:

To render this protection increasingly effective for the aforementioned purposes and to stop any illegal situations that may arise, the Secretariat of State carries out systematic surveillance activities to monitor the ways in which the image of the Holy Father and the coats of arms of the Holy See are used, taking appropriate action where necessary.

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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 23, 2017 2:47 AM ET USA

    Sounds rigid to me.

  • Posted by: rickt26170 - Feb. 22, 2017 11:06 PM ET USA

    I wish they sold English language versions of those Roman posters. I'd have one in my front lawn.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 22, 2017 11:27 AM ET USA

    I've seen misuse of the images of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI many times, especially in anti Christian publications, like Charlie Hebdo, but don't recall Vatican’s Secretary of State voicing official criticism.