Vatican City, May 15, 2012 / 16:38 pm
An Italian fashion company has settled a legal conflict with the Vatican, which arose in 2011 after an ad campaign that featured digitally manipulated images of the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric.
In the wake of the legal challenge to its ads, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Benetton Group now recognizes “that the Pope's image must be respected.”
A recent declaration by the fashion company, acknowledged by the Holy See Press Office on May 15, reaffirmed its “regret for having offended His Holiness Benedict XVI and believers” with its “UNHATE” advertisements, which portrayed kisses between religious and political leaders.
One of these doctored images, featuring Pope Benedict and Egyptian imam Ahmed el Tayyeb, was displayed in print and other media – including a large banner near the Vatican – in November 2011. It was withdrawn from publications after an initial apology by Benetton the same month.