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Benetton withdraws advert of Pope kissing Muslim leader

By on Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Benetton store in central London: their advertising campaign features world leaders kissing one another

The Benetton store in central London: their advertising campaign features world leaders kissing one another

The Italian fashion house Benetton has withdrawn an advert depicting Pope Benedict XVI kissing a Muslim leader hours after it was condemned by the Vatican.

The campaign is entitled “Unhate” and features doctored images of supposedly antagonistic world leaders in kissing scenes. The Vatican said the image of Pope Benedict embracing Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, president of al-Azhar University in Cairo, who announced the suspension of dialogue with the Vatican earlier this year, was offensive.

The ads were unveiled yesterday and a few hours later the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, registered a strong protest. He condemned what he called “a completely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in the context of a publicity campaign for commercial ends”.

Shortly afterward, the image was gone from the website of the Unhate Foundation. The Italian news agency ANSA reported that a company spokesman said it had withdrawn the image.

Fr Lombardi said the image represented “a serious lack of respect for the Pope, an offence to the sentiments of the faithful and a clear demonstration of how fundamental rules of respect for people can be violated by advertising, in order to attract attention through provocation”.

Fr Lombardi said the Vatican’s Secretary of State was considering what steps to take in order to guarantee “respect for the figure of the Holy Father”.

In the past, Benetton has employed shocking images in its advertising campaigns. One ad in 1991 depicted a priest kissing a nun.

Other images in the current campaign portray President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embracing Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

  • Cjkeeffe

    I wonder if they withdrew teh advert because teh Vatican complained or whetehr they where afraid of get a suicide bomber stroll in for abusing Islam.

  • Anonymous

    Advertising is responsible for many of the evils in society.  Profit is about increasing sales and decreasing costs, so adverts ultimately aim to sell junk at rip off prices. They attempt to maximise desire for worthless things by appealing to people’s foolishness. Adverts expolit people’s anxieties and encourage vice in order to conjure up desire where there is no actual need for a product. When promising paradise to undiscerning purchasers, they often encourage lust, pride, greed, envy, gluttony and sloth and in doing so, promote selfishness, which undermines social cohesion, destroys community and increases crime and misery. British values of decency, caring for the needy, and respect for legitimate authority are based in our Christian roots, and so the Benetton advert is an attack on the British values which form the fabric of British society. The gospels teach people to think critically and to despise material wealth and possessions, so Christianity is a threat to the corrupt capitalists currently the subject of protests worldwide. When Benetton tries to belittle religious leaders, it comes out on the wrong side in the battle between good and evil.

  • AgingPapist

    As St. Paul sayeth, “Greet one another with a holy kiss”.  So, this doesn’t apply to Pope Benedict?

  • Anonymous

    I have a question that I’m hoping some of you can help me to answer, as it is something I cannot reconcile. The question is; in what way was Jesus God’s only son? If we are all God’s children this does not make sense. Afterall, Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph – this raises some issues on what parenting is really about.
    But even if Jesus was his only son, God soon got him back to be with him in heaven, and did not give him away – and if God wanted anymore children, he could surely have made some more.

  • David Armitage

    When will they ever learn? Methinks the Vatican has scored an own goal. If it hadn’t complained, hardly anyone would have noticed. Now the photo has been splashed over hundreds of newspapers the world over just when the pope wanted attention fixed on the Africa synod.  Once again Benetton has garned millions of dollars worth of free publicity.

  • Dominic Wallace

    What happened to turn the other cheek? Or has Ffhe Vatican forgotten its Christian roots?

  • Justin

    Same way Jesus question the soldier that slapped him?

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    IF YOU ARE A TRUE LOVER AND SEEKER OF TRUTH, WITH A HUMBLE PURE HEART MEDIATE

    HABITUALLY  ON THE FOLLOWING BOOKS  OF THE WORD OF GOD: GENESIS, EXODUS, THE

    FOUR GOSPELS, THE LETTER TO THE ROMANS AND THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.PLEASE USE

    THE R.S.V (CATHOLIC EDITION). YOUR DOUBTS AND PROBLEMS  WILL SOLVE THEMSELVES.

    IF YOU HAD GIVEN YOUR AGE AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN

    HELPFUL.

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    HELPING TO PROMOTE FALSEHOOD IS NO VIRTUE. IT IS NOT JUST ACCEPTABLE IN GOOD

    SOCIETY.

  • Anonymous

    Thankyou for your reply.
    I do consider myself to be a humble and true lover and seeker of the truth, but I can’t find the answers to my questions where you say I should. Do you have the answers? Does anybody? I seek, but have yet to hear anything significant.

  • WSquared

    I think you need to go to the Nicene Creed, which lays out what Catholics believe:  In the Creed, it states that Christ is the only son of the Father, and “begotten, not made;  one consubstantial [of the same substance] of the Father.”  God, in Catholic belief, is the very energy of what it is to Be.  We are all God’s children by adoption– through the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism, wherein we become conformed to the Body of Christ.  This is not the same thing as being “begotten, not made;  one consubstantial with the Father.”  God did indeed give Jesus away by giving him to us, so that when Jesus was lifted up from the earth after the Resurrection, he would draw all of us to himself.  The point is why God gave us Jesus in the first place– for what purpose, precisely, and not whether or not he just “gave Jesus away.”  Of course he would get Jesus back, so that he could bring US back to him.

    Before you look at Scripture as per Mr. Poovnthinkal’s suggestion, however, you should look at it concurrently with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (for the very basics of Catholic belief, try also Catholicism for Dummies).  Scripture, after all, does not interpret itself.

  • WSquared

    Mr. Wallace, “turning the other cheek” means standing your ground for what is right, because it is right.

  • Anonymous

    But it doesn’t make sense – how begotten? Jesus was born of Mary and formed as we form, in the womb. How did God lose out by letting Jesus live as a man?

  • Honeybadger

    WSquared is spot on.

    How come the minute we Christians openly assert ourselves in the face of matters that go against the grain of church teaching, the dignity of our Holy Father, and values, there comes blatant misuse of Christ’s words by those who grab their handbags to their chests and go ‘ooooowooooooooo! Who’s rattled your cage?’ ?

    Being Christian does not mean being a doormat or a victim, Dominic.

    Remember that.

  • Honeybadger

    I don’t think so.

  • Honeybadger

    Not you again! *tch*!

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    EVEN HERE YOU HAVE NOT GIVEN YOUR ……..

    MOST IMPORTANTLY TRUE SEEKING IS ON THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL AND NOT ON INTELLECTUAL

    LEVEL THOUGH INTELLECT MAY BE INVOLVED AS A SUPPORTIVE ELEMENT.

    WHY DON’T YOU READ  (BEFORE STARTING MEDITATION ON THE WORD OF GOD) IN THE SPIRIT

    OF A TRUE SEEKER: ST AUGUSTIN (CONFESSIONS AND OTHER WORKS) AND SWAMI

    VIVEKANANDA’S COMPLETE  WORKS UPTO THE POINT WHERE THE LATTER DISCOVERS CHRIST

    THE SAVIOUR?

    OR MAY BE ……

    WELL, ………. I THINK I HAVE GIVEN YOU MORE THAN WHAT YOU DESERVE, THOUGH I AM NOT

    THE BEST QUALIFIED  ONE IN THIS MATTER. I MYSELF AM JUST  A SEEKER TRYING TO BE

    TRUTHFUL WITH MYSELF AND THE LORD WHO HAS SOUGHT ME OUT.

    Thomas Poovathinkal  

  • Anonymous

    If this bothers people so much – what would they do if real persecution, persecution deserving of the name, took place ? If we faced the sort of problems that Christian had to face under Stalin or Mao, it is is hard to believe that supposedly disrespectful posters would count for very much. Posters are not the equivalent of being invited to trample crucifixes, as the Japanese Martyrs of the great persecution were tempted to. What happened to having a sense of proportion ? Have people never heard of crying “Wolf !” ? Being racked may be persecution – being dismissed from a job for insisting on symbolism over substance is not. So Christians don’t have to wear crucifixes, especially if their employers tell them not to – but Christians do have to have to follow Christ Crucified; “against [that], there is no law”. Not wearing a crucifix, despite their own wishes, could perfctly well be  part of the following of Christ. It would cost them something, and it would help them to “live at peace with [their employers] as far as possible”.

  • Anonymous

    In giving us Jesus, God has given us everything. He cannot give us more than everything – & that is precisely what He has done.

    We have been given:
    the Sonship of Jesus
    His Holy Spirit
    His Body
    His character
    His Holiness
    His Righteousness
    His Wisdom
    His Life
    His Predestination
    His Resurrection

    - and a great deal more: He even gives us the Death of Jesus, for us to share in, Cross and all. That BTW  is why Mary is our Mother: God has not kept back the human Sonship of His Son, spo that His Son can have at least one thing to call His own; on the contrary, even the Mother of God Incarnate belongs to us, and we belong to her. This is why Christians do not have anything whatever – our bodies, souls, wills, intentions, relationships, time, money, everything we have, attitudes, belongs not to us, but to God. We can’t keep anything back, for God has kept nothing back from us. 

    Again and again in the NT, epithets and titles that belong only to God or Jesus are shared with men:

    God is a Rock in the OT – in the NT, Simon is made into Peter the Rock
    Jesus is the Light of the World – & so are His followers to be.
    God is Holy – and His People are to be holy, in both Testaments
    Jesus is the Temple of God – so are Christians
    Jesus is the Servant of the Lord – Christians are to serve one another
    God is Righteous – Christians are righteous in Christ
    Jesus is the Lord’s Anointed – Christians have an anointing from the Holy Spirit
    The fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ – Christians share in the Divine Nature.
    Jesus is in the Father – so are His followers.

    Jesus is the Son by nature – Christians share in this Sonship by adoption. We have access to all these things only by being united with Christ; for He is our Mediator, more fully than Moses or any angel. Apart from Him, we have, and are, nothing.

      

  • Anonymous

    “How did God lose out by letting Jesus live as a man ?”

    ## God did not lose out. And He did not “let” Jesus live as a man – The Eternal Word of God took on our human nature to become a man, the man Jesus of Nazareth. And did so according to the Will and Purpose of God. To put it another way, the Father “give Him up for us”. Jesus is the way in which God becomes totally available to man – and, man being what he is, this meant that Jesus was crucified. The Cross reveals both the extremity of God’s Self-giving Love, and the worst that man can do. It becomes a judgement on human wickedness. God loses nothing.

    The Presence of the Word on earth, as Jesus, does not mean that the Word changed place, & was no longer in Heaven. That sort of thinking applies human categories to Divine realities – & the two don’t fit. The Word is timelessly with the Father, & was in time & place with men. A rough analogy would be to think of a story-teller putting himself  into his story – he takes on a new way of existing, for the purposes of the story & within it; but is not himself changed. He remains the same person his family & his publisher know  – but the characters in his story have no access to that life; they exist in the fiction invented by the story-teller. We are like those characters.

    Jesus was conceived as we are – with one difference. In most human conceptions, three parties are at work: the mother, the father, & the Holy Spirit Who makes their pro-creative action bear fruit. In the Virginal Conception of Jesus, there was a human mother, but no human father – the Divine blessing that causes human fertility was not mediated through an act of human begetting, but was an unmediated Divine Act, through the grace of the Holy Spirit Who “overshadowed” Mary & brought a human life out of nothing: Mary was a Virgin before conceiving, in conceiving, & after conceiving. The Virginal Conception is a new Creation. Mary is the point in the old creation from which the new creation begins. Jesus is conceived in her; all creation is in Jesus; and she is part of creation, at once containing & contained by Him. Both the Presence of Jesus in Mary, & the Ascension, play games with space. This indicates that the NT understanding of space and time is more interesting than ours is apt to be; and this prepares us for the Ascension.

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