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Topless nun billboard irks Naples residents ahead of pope visit

Clothing company Rosso di Sera said the topless nun billboard was planned well before Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Naples was announced.

By Ben Hooper

NAPLES, Italy, March 11 (UPI) -- An Italian company said no blasphemy was intended by erecting a Naples billboard featuring a topless model dressed as a nun ahead of a planned papal visit.

Clothing company Rosso di Sera came under fire from Naples natives when it erected a billboard recently featuring a topless model wearing a nun's habit and holding a rosary. The model's breasts are covered by her arms.

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Some have accused the company of blasphemy ahead of a planned March 21 visit to Naples by Pope Francis.

The company released a statement saying the billboard had been planned long before the pope's visit was announced.

"We recognize that we have made a strong marketing choice but there was no intent to blaspheme," the statement said. "Trivializing the act of prayer was not the intention in any way."

The statement said the company "strongly regrets being accused of things extremely far from our values and our culture."

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