By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA, is capitalizing on the Pope’s recent comments on condoms in a new ad designed to draw attention to the crisis of animal overpopulation.
USA Today is reporting that the group has launched a new ad featuring the Pope waving to crowds with a condom in his hand. The ad reads: “Dogs & Cats Can’t Use Condoms. We Are in the Midst of an Unholy Animal Overpopulation Crisis. Spay or Neuter Today.”
The organization is planning to spread leaflets containing the ad in an international tour of Roman Catholic institutions which began at the Vatican on Dec. 2.
“Visitors to the Vatican yesterday were the first to receive our new ‘Pope Condom’ campaign leaflets, which we’ll also soon be taking to cathedrals and churches across the U.S.,” the group said in a press release.
“Simply stated: It’s sinful that millions of dogs and cats are killed every year in animal shelters simply because there aren’t enough homes for all of them—and that millions more are abandoned on the streets, where they starve, die of untreated injuries or illnesses, or fall prey to animal abusers. The simple solution is to always spay and neuter animals instead of allowing them to produce countless offspring. Please help us bring salvation to dogs and cats by singing the praises of spaying and neutering to everyone you know.”
Even though Catholics are offended by the disrespectful presentation of the Pope in ads that also distort his position on condoms, USA Today writer Cathy Lynn Grossman seems more critical of Catholics as she laments the fact that “no one has told PETA that nominal Catholics in Western Europe barely heed the pope, no matter what he’s imagined by overactive ad writers to be saying. And Mass attendance at many of those cathedrals is far below U.S. Mass attendance.”
She goes on to speculate as to whether or not PETA’s intended audience might have been Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who she describes as a “self-appointed guardian of religious imagery.” If he sends up a well-publicized complaint about the photo, “they could pick up reams of extra U.S. publicity,” Grossman writes.
As Grossman’s treatment of the subject reveals, and Matthew Archbold of the popular Creative Minority Report blog aptly explains, the ad campaign is just another way of attacking the Pope and the Church.
“But isn’t that what this is all about anyway? They [PETA] know they’ll never be criticized by the mainstream media for insulting the Pope so it’s a free shot. The ordinary ministers of the media will chortle, enjoy the insult, and report on it with serious faces. Because after all wasn’t it them in the first place who misreported what Pope Benedict’s statement actually meant?”
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