Vatican drops suit against Benetton

May 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

VATICAN CITY, May 16 (UPI) -- The Vatican has dropped its lawsuit against the Italian fashion house Benetton for an anti-hate campaign that featured the Pope, a Vatican spokesman said.

The Vatican went to court over the manipulation of a picture of Pope Benedict XVI that showed the pontiff kissing the imam of a Cairo mosque, ANSA reported.

The campaign also used a photograph of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao.

The Italian fashion house has a reputation for provocative advertising.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Benetton has publicly acknowledged it "violated the sensibility of the faithful" and recognizes that the image of the Pope is to be respected.

The Vatican dropped the lawsuit in exchange for a formal apology from Benetton and a donation to a Catholic charity.

Benetton said it did not intend to offend Catholics or Muslims.

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