ABS-CBN media network apologized Monday for offending people with a Papal Visit 2015 commemorative shirt it is selling on its online store and other retail shops.
In its statement, the mixed media network’s spokesman said it would pull out from shops the design that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) criticized.
“ABS-CBN assures the public that there was no intent to deceive or mislead the public through the commemorative shirt that carry statements inspired by Pope Francis’ message of love, openness, and humility,” ABS-CBN spokesman Bong Osorio said.
“We apologize if a particular statement shirt offended anyone. We are pulling out the item from our online shop and all retail partner stores,” he added.
The recalled shirts carried the slogan “No race, no religion.” It is one of four designs for commemorative shirts produced and sold by ABS CBN in celebration of Pope Francis’ apostolic and state visit to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19.
CBCP in a statement on Monday warned the public about t-shirts printed with words it said are “misleading” and “erroneous” in suggesting Pope Francis pronounced those words.
CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan urged Catholics not to patronize the shirt with the words: “No race. No religion.”
The other designs include “Ganito Ako. Ganyan Ka (This is how I am. That is how you are. Who Am I To Judge,” “Thank You sa Malasakit (thank you for your compassion). Pope Francis sa Pilipinas (Pope Francis in the Philippines.”
CBCP News reports that Catholics want the “Who am I to judge?” design pulled out also. The report quotes the warning of Catholic lawyer and lay preacher Marwil N. Llasos of the Company of St. Dominic (CSD) that the design “grossly distorts” Pope Francis’ views on gay people who seek God, and implies that the pope espouses “beliefs and principles that directly violate official Church teachings.”