Vatican protests Benetton ad showing pope kissing imam

VATICAN CITY Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:54am IST

People stroll in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

People stroll in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Related Video

Related Topics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday protested to Italian clothing firm Benetton over its use of an image of Pope Benedict kissing an imam on the mouth in its latest shock advertising campaign.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi called the unauthorized and "manipulative" use of the pope's picture in the photo montage "totally unacceptable" and suggested it might take legal action against the company.

"This is a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence against the sentiments of the faithful and a clear example of how advertising can violate elementary rules of respect for people in order to attract attention through provocation," he said in a statement.

A large banner with the image of the pope and the imam was hung from a bridge near the Vatican on Wednesday morning before it was removed.

Other photo montages in the same campaign, in which Benetton says it supports the Unhate Foundation, show other world leaders kissing each other on the mouth.

President Barack Obama is shown kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in one.

The Italian clothing company has run controversial advertising campaigns in the past, including one that showed grieving parents at the bedside of a man dying of AIDS.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Lakhvi's Bail

Lakhvi's Bail

Pakistan court bails man accused of masterminding Mumbai attack.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Coal Unions

Coal Unions

Coal India workers threaten five-day strike, stokes output worries.  Full Article 

Space Programme

Space Programme

ISRO tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market.  Full Article 

Peshawar attack

Peshawar Attack

Some Pakistan militants denounce school attack, amid national outrage.  Full Article 

Uber Again

Uber Again

Uber driver in Boston charged with kidnapping and rape.  Full Article 

Discounts

Discounts

Dealers offer gold discount for first time in five months.  Full Article 

"PK" in Cinemas

"PK" in Cinemas

Secret of year's "biggest" Bollywood film is its plot.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage