News archive 2005

Letter of complaint sent to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland on behalf of the Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference

Press Release

30 September 2005

Letter of complaint sent to the Advertising Standards Authority

on behalf of the Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.

On behalf of the Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
I strongly object to the recently launched publicity poster, sponsored by
Paddy Power bookmakers, ridiculing and exploiting an image of The Last Supper.

Under the Advertising Authority of Ireland’s (ASAI) Code of Advertising
Standards, published in 2001, Code 2.14 states that “advertisements should
respect the dignity of all persons and should avoid causing offence on
grounds of … religion.”   Furthermore Code 2.16 states that: “To avoid
causing offence … advertisements [should]… not ridicule or exploit religious
beliefs, symbols, rites or practices.”

“Clearly the company involved has disregarded the ASAI’s code in its pursuit
of publicity.  It seems that religion has become fair game when it comes to
promoting one’s commercial agenda. Having no concern for people’s religious
beliefs and showing this in such a public way, is indeed a sad state of affairs.
An unfortunate consequence of objecting to this poster is that it gives this
commercial initiative even more publicity.  However, the importance of the
Eucharist to the Catholic Church means that it cannot go unchallenged.

“The image in the poster is an insult and is offensive to Catholics because
the celebration of the Eucharist is core to the faith and to the life of the
Church.  The celebration of the Eucharist at Mass is a re-enactment of The
Last Supper when Christ took bread and wine and identified Himself with them,
changing them into His body and blood.  Furthermore, The Last Supper is the
institution of the priesthood.  When a priest celebrates Mass, the bread and
wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ and this also re-presents
His sacrifice on the cross on Calvary.

“The Eucharist is at the heart of the life of the Church drawing the Catholic
community together, it deepens our relationship with Christ and spiritually
rejuvenates the faithful to live out the challenge of the Gospel in our daily
lives.

“In October 2004 the Late Pope John Paul II inaugurated 2005 as the Year of
the Eucharist for the Catholic Church around the world.  This special year
will end with the Synod of Bishops which will be held in Rome next month,
and its theme is: “The Eucharist – source and summit of the life and mission
of the Church.  Archbishop of Armagh Dr Seán Brady and the Archbishop of
Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin will attend the Synod on behalf of the Irish
Bishops’ Conference.

“While humour is an integral part of our natural make-up, it shouldn’t be at
the expense of others.  The company concerned should reflect on the subject
matter of this publicity campaign and do the right thing by removing the
posters with immediate effect.”

Ends
+Joseph Duffy
Chairman
Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
30th September 2005

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