Court rules against magazine’s vulgar portrayal of Pope

Bonn, Germany, Jul 11, 2012 / 04:10 pm (CNA).- A German magazine must stop publishing its latest issue, which depicts Pope Benedict XVI in a urine- and feces-stained cassock, a district court in Hamburg ruled on June 10.

The German Bishops' Conference, which took legal action against “Titanic” magazine with the permission of the Vatican's Secretary of State, welcomed the decision. Conference spokesman Matthias Kopp said the image “oversteps every measure of decency.”

On the front cover of its July issue, Titanic mocked the Pope, and the recent “Vatileaks” scandal  involving security breaches and confidential documents, with an image that showed him wearing urine-stained clothing. The headline read: “Hallelujah in the Vatican: The leak has been found!”

The image on the back cover had been altered to show a brown stain on the back of his traditional white cassock, with the caption reading: “Another leak is found!”

Existing issues of the magazine will not have to be recalled under the terms of the court's temporary injunction. New copies, however, cannot be published.

Titanic's editor, Leo Fischer, says he intends to fight on against Tuesday's decision, which he said was a “huge mistake.” The magazine has been sued 55 times over its cover images, 35 of which have been banned.

Fischer has stated that Pope Benedict “must have misunderstood” the front cover image, which he said showed the Pope spilling a drink on himself in excitement over solving the Vatileaks mystery.

“Everyone knows how much the Pope likes Fanta,” Fischer said.

Titanic's website has replaced the blocked images with a picture of the Pope in a clean cassock, carrying two large bottles of orange soda. The new caption reads: “'Titanic' forbidden – Pope intoxicated with joy!”

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