Policing the Pope's Image

Another story from Associated Press:

Vatican Cracks Down on Phoney Use of Papal Image
Published: December 19, 2009

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is cracking down on the unauthorized use of the pope’s image.

The Vatican issued a declaration Saturday saying that anyone who wants to use the pope’s name, photo or coat of arms, or the title ”pontifical,” must first obtain authorization from the Holy See.

The declaration says that in recent years there has been occasional attempts to ”attribute credibility and authority” to initiatives that have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church.

It didn’t give examples, but noted that there has been an increase in efforts to use the pope’s name for schools, universities and cultural institutions.

The Vatican in 2006 began enforcing copyrights on papal writings.

We sit here waiting to be “cracked down” upon.

UPDATE: Fr Z. gives the full text of the declaration:


Recent years have witnessed a great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father. There has also been a desire to use the Pope’s name in the title of universities, schools or cultural institutions, as well as associations, foundations and other groups.

In light of this fact, the Holy See hereby declares that it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and, therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Occasionally, in fact, attempts have been made to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives by using ecclesiastical or papal symbols and logos.

Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff (his name, his picture or his coat of arms), and/or the use of the title “Pontifical”, must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Policing the Pope's Image

  1. Kiran says:

    What about past popes? I used to have Ven Pius XII as my profile pic for some time…

  2. Joshua says:

    I do hope, David, you have sent the relevant Latin epistle to the competent dicastery, applying for permission to use the Pope’s visage &c.

    Perhaps your mate Fraser could help with the Latin?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *