An advertisement encouraging people to use the Washington, D.C. Metro to travel to the Papal Mass at Nationals Park was removed from YouTube after Catholic leaders raised concerns about its use of a Pope Benedict bobblehead doll, the Washington Post reports.
The advertisement used a bobblehead doll of the Pope less than eight inches tall. It wore a red cape and a red skullcap, which is called a zucchetto. In a video posted on YouTube, the doll was depicted riding the D.C. Metro, sitting next to a man reading “Car and Pontiff” magazine.
In the video, the man turns to the bobblehead and asks, in Latin, “Car in shop?”
The man then flips the magazine, which had photos of the Popemobile, to the back page, which shows an ad about taking the Metro to Mass. "Thank Heaven for Metro," the man intones in Latin.
The video also shows the bobblehead doll buying a special one-day pass and demonstrating Metro etiquette such as standing on the right side on an escalator.
"Our concern is that this was a bad bobblehead," said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington. "You had unauthorized merchandise, and you had a misdressed pope."
Gibbs listed some errors in the doll’s dress. "Popes don't wear red skull caps," she said, also pointing out that Popes don't wear red capes, but white ones.
Lisa Farbstein, the Metro’s director of media relations, developed the idea for the video. She said she bought the bobblehead doll of the Pope on eBay, where it is listed for $16.99, including shipping. She said the Metro staff acquired the Latin translation from an internet service. “We're not 100 percent certain that it is grammatically correct, but this was all part of our tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor," she said, according to the Washington Post.
"We did not intend to offend," Farbstein said.
"We were really trying to encourage people to purchase the one-day pass and to reach out to new audiences who don't tend to use other, more conventional means to get their news and information."
The Archdiocese of Washington did not ask for the video to be pulled, but Farbstein said the Metro voluntarily withdrew it.