Image: An undated handout picture released in L
Handout via AFP-Getty Images
An undated handout picture shows an ad for an ice cream company that has been banned by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). news services
updated 9/16/2010 10:13:16 AM ET 2010-09-16T14:13:16

His Holiness probably would not have approved.

Britain's advertising watchdog has banned an Italian ice cream ad featuring a pregnant nun, saying it causes offense to Catholics. The ban came amid Pope Benedict XVI's four-day state visit to the U.K., the first official papal visit to Britain in centuries.

The visit has been overshadowed by anger over a sex abuse scandal that was reignited by recent revelations in Belgium of hundreds of new victims, at least 13 of whom had committed suicide.

The pope acknowledged Thursday that the Catholic Church had failed to respond decisively or swiftly to the crisis.

The magazine ad for ice cream maker Antonio Federici showed the nun eating a tub of ice cream, with text that read: "Immaculately conceived ... Ice cream is our religion."

The Advertising Standards Authority said Wednesday it has received 10 complaints from magazine readers who said the ad was offensive to Christians. The agency said imagery used to illustrate immaculate conception was likely to be seen as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics.

The Italian company said the idea of conception represented the development of their ice cream and the ad aimed to gently satirize religion. Gelato is Italian-style ice cream, which has a higher proportion of whole milk to cream and less air than American ice cream.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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