FRANCE’S Catholic Church won an injunction from the courts today to ban a leading fashion house’s advertising poster, 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 offence 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 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.
Well I think not just Catholics but all Christians would find this ad offensive and I don’t even see how it is effective marketing of a product. The description at the top of the article does not truly describe just how bad the ad is. The defense that the ad is based on a painting and not the Bible is truly silly, as if Leonardo Da Vinci conceived the painting who cloth or is that whole canvas?