Italian city protests “obscene” ad ahead of papal visit

Pope Francis is visiting Naples on March 21

Naples: People of Naples have reacted angrily to an “obscene” advertisement displayed in the south Italian city ahead of papal visit.

Pope Francis is on an official visit to Naples on March 21. He will also visit Pompeii.

Greeting him would be an image of a bare-breasted nun. A giant 20ft x 30ft billboard several stories up in the city center shows a woman dressed in a nun’s habit and jeans, clutching rosary beads with her naked breasts exposed.

It was placed there as part of an advertising campaign by fashion label Rosso di Sera, a week ahead of the Pope’s arrival.

But residents and Catholic officials have reacted angrily to the move, with some demanding that it is taken down before the papal visit.

One local man described it as an “ugly image,” while a woman walking by the advert told Il Sole 24 Ore it could have been made “a bit less obscene.”

One Facebook user said: “I am an atheist but I find it offensive to intelligence, to women, to good taste and to faith.”

And others described the timing of the placement as “inopportune,” reports

The firm has denied claims that it has been erected deliberately, and said in a statement that while they recognize that they have made “a strong marketing choice,” there was “no intent to blaspheme.”

“Trivializing the act of prayer was not the intention in any way,” the company added. It also said that it “strongly regrets being accused of things extremely far from our values and our culture,” Reuters reported.

According to Italian media, the company said it might be willing to remove it if asked to do so by a national advertising disciplinary body.

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