Satirical paper urges Christian spirit in papal row

Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:50am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A German magazine that angered the Vatican with a cover picture satirizing Pope Benedict said on Wednesday it hoped to defuse the dispute in "a spirit of Christian reconciliation".

The front cover of July's edition of Titanic shows the pope with a yellow stain on his cassock and the headline "Halleluja at the Vatican - The Leak Has Been Found" - a reference to the 'Vatileaks' scandal which led to the arrest of Benedict's butler on suspicion of stealing confidential documents.

The back cover shows the German-born pontiff from behind with a brown stain and the words "Another leak has been found".

At the Vatican's request, a German court banned the magazine on Tuesday from publishing the images of the pope on the Internet and from further publication of the printed edition, though tens of thousands of copies are already in circulation.

Titanic published on its website the letter sent by Cardinal Angelo Becciu on behalf of the pontiff asking German lawyers to take the necessary steps to halt the publication of images it said "violate Pope Benedict's personal rights".

Titanic editor-in-chief Leo Fischer told Reuters he was in contact with the pope's lawyers and hoped for an amicable solution.

"We would like to solve this problem in a spirit of Christian reconciliation ... We can solve the problem in a gentlemanly way over coffee," he said on Wednesday.

"If this does not happen, and we are waiting for an answer from the pope, then we will appeal for a lifting of the court ban," Fischer added.

The German Journalists' Association criticized the temporary court injunction as "excessive" and said even the pope should accept satire.   Continued...

Leo Fischer, editor-in-chief of the German magazine "Titanic", poses for a picture in his office in Frankfurt July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski