Dispute between Vatican and Benetton over Pope's image resolved

2012-05-15 Vatican Radio

The Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Tuesday that the dispute between the Holy See and the Benetton Clothing Group over the incorrect use of the Pope’s image has been resolved.

The case concerns the faked image of Pope Benedict kissing a prominent Egyptian Moslem cleric that appeared last November in Benetton’s “UNHATE” publicity campaign. The image was immediately condemned by the Vatican which threatened legal action to get it withdrawn. The photo montage in question was withdrawn by Benetton shortly afterwards.

Father Lombardi’s statement came after Benetton issued a press release last Friday apologising for having upset the feelings of Pope Benedict the 16th and believers and pledging that it had withdrawn all photographic images of the Holy Father from every publication of the company. It also promised not to use any images of the Pope in the future without prior authorisation from the Holy See and to use its best efforts to stop further use of the photo montage by third parties on internet sites or elsewhere.

Father Lombardi said Benetton’s statement marked the end of the dispute which came following meetings between the lawyers of the Holy See and the Benetton Group. He said the Holy See did not wish to ask for financial compensation but instead wished to obtain a moral compensation for the harm caused and reiterated its determination to protect --- even through legal means -- the image of the Pope. Father Lombardi said instead of financial compensation, they had asked for and Benetton had agreed to make a financial donation to help the charity work of the Church. He said this concludes an unpleasant affair that should not have occurred but which has hopefully taught a lesson about the need for due respect for the image of the Pope, just as for any other person, and for the feelings of the faithful.