After protest from Catholics, blasphemous potato chip radio ad ordered pulled in Italy — By: Catholic News Agency

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CNA Staff, Apr 10, 2024 / 10:50 am (CNA).

An Italian Catholic watchdog group says a blasphemous ad featuring a priest consecrating potato chips in place of Eucharistic hosts has been ordered pulled from the airwaves.

The Italian Association of Radio and Television Listeners (Associazione Italiana Ascoltatori Radio e Televisione, AIART) on Monday had called for the immediate suspension of an advertisement by the Italian company Amica Chips, one that the group said “offends the religious sensitivity of millions of practicing Catholics.” AIART says on its website that its mission is “inspired by Catholic principles.”

In the advertisement, an abbess fills a ciborium with potato chips instead of Eucharistic hosts prior to Mass, after which a priest distributes one of the potato chips to a nun during holy Communion. 

As the communicants are visibly surprised to discover the chips in place of hosts, the abbess looks on unconcernedly as she eats from the bag of crisps. 

The commercial evinced a “lack of respect and creativity,” AIART said this week, arguing that the ad was a “telltale sign of disrespect for users, their cultural and moral identity, and their dignity as persons.”

On Tuesday AIART said on its website that the Institute of Advertising Self-Discipline, Italy’s private advertising standards authority, had “upheld our appeal for the immediate suspension of the commercial.”

The Institute’s Control Committee “has enjoined the parties involved to desist from the broadcast of such a campaign,” AIART reported, with the committee citing regulations that commercials “must not offend moral, civil, and religious convictions.”

Giovanni Baggio, the president of AIART, said in the Tuesday release that the group “​​urge[s] creatives to be more respectful of cultural and religious identities and to work for commercials that are inclusive and that appeal to all users in a way that is careful not to create discomfort and disapproval.”

“Let us work together for a civilization that needs to grow in respect for cultural and religious identities,” Baggio said.

Amica Chips did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNA on Wednesday morning.

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