“The pope’s image must be respected”: Benetton apologizes, retracts offending ads

You may remember the controversial ads that popped up around the world a few months back (you can find them at this link, and read about them here).  The company behind them, Benetton, has now apologized:

This morning a note from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., was issued on the conclusion of the legal conflict between the Holy See and the Benetton Group, due to its unlawful use of Pope Benedict XVI’s image in the “Unhate” ad campaign.

“Last Friday,” reads the communique, “the Benetton Group published a note … reaffirming its ‘regret for having offended His Holiness Benedict XVI and believers’, and assuring that it ‘guarantees and maintains that all photographic images of the Holy Father have been retracted from commercial distribution and promises not to use the image of the Holy Father in the future without authorization from the Holy See'”. It ends with stating that “the Benetton Group will use its resources to stop the further use of the image by third parties on internet sites and in other places”.

“The communique of the Benetton Group,” emphasizes Fr. Lombardi, “represents the conclusion, based on an agreed settlement, of the conflict between the lawyers of the Holy See … and those of the Benetton Group, a conflict that took place, as announced, and has been open until now. The Benetton Group recognizes therefore … that the Pope’s image must be respected”.

“The Holy See did not seek monetary compensation. Nevertheless, moral compensation in recognition of the abuse committed has been sought as well as affirming the desire to defend, even by legal means, the Pope’s image. In place of monetary compensation it has asked and received from the Benetton Group an act of generosity, effective even if limited, toward one of the Church’s charitable activities”.

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