French Catholic Church gets fashion ad banned

10th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 10 (AFP) - France's Catholic Church won an injunction from the courts Thursday to ban an advertisement poster for a leading fashion house which is based on Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of Christ's Last Supper.

PARIS, March 10 (AFP) - France's Catholic Church won an injunction from the courts Thursday to ban an advertisement poster for a leading fashion house which is based on Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of Christ's Last Supper.

The advertisement - for Marithe and Francois Girbaud - shows designer-clad women in the place of Jesus and the apostles, one of them with her arms around a half-naked man in jeans.

Judge Jean-Claude Magendie ruled that display of the advertisements on street hoardings was "a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people's innermost beliefs."

"The offense done to Catholics far outweighs the desired commercial goal," he said.

He ordered that all posters on display should be taken down within three days. The association "Belief and Liberties," which represented the church, was also awarded costs.

Earlier the association's lawyer Thierry Massis told the court that the advertisement was deeply hurtful to Catholics.

"When you trivialise the founding acts of a religion, when you touch on sacred things, you create an unbearable moral violence which is a danger to our children. Tomorrow Christ on the cross will be selling socks," he said.

But lawyers for Girbaud argued that to prohibit the image would be an act of censorship.

"The work is a photograph based on a painting, not on the bible," said the company's lawyer Bernard Cahen. "There is nothing in it that is offensive to the Catholic religion. It is a way of showing the place of women in society today, which is a reflection of our changing values."

Three years ago the Catholic Church reacted with anger to a poster for the film Amen by Constantin Costa-Gavras which showed a cross whose branches turned into Nazi swastikas. However it did not launch court action.

In 1998 the church complained about a campaign for Volkswagen which also used Leonardo's Last Supper with the slogan: "Rejoice for a new Golf is born."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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