Guido Barilla, chairman of Barilla Pasta, may be a staunch Roman Catholic, but he is out of step with Pope Francis.
Barilla, who is chairman of Barilla Pasta, the world’s leading pasta manufacturer, told Italian radio on Thursday that his company would never use a gay family in its advertising.
A week earlier, Pope Francis had told America magazine, a Jesuit weekly based in New York. that the Roman Catholic church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception”.
During the interview, Pope Francis said this about homosexuality:
“In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”
Guido Barilla obviously missed what the Pope said.
Once barilla’s comment was made public, there were immediate calls for a boycott of Barilla products Now Barilla is frantically trying to back pedal out of the wasp’s nest of criticism that followed his statement.
Barilla US issued the following apology on its web site and its Facebook page.
“At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors – with love and respect – and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”
The Barilla Italy web page contained this apology from Guido Barilla.
“Con riferimento alle mie dichiarazioni rese ieri alla Zanzara, mi scuso se le mie parole hanno generato fraintendimenti o polemiche, e se hanno urtato la sensibilità di alcune persone.
Per chiarezza desidero precisare che ho il più profondo rispetto per qualunque persona, senza distinzione alcuna. Nutro il massimo rispetto per gli omosessuali e per la libertà di espressione di chiunque. Ho anche detto e ribadisco che rispetto i matrimoni tra persone dello stesso sesso.
Barilla nelle sue pubblicità ha sempre scelto di rappresentare la famiglia perché questa è il simbolo dell’accoglienza e degli affetti per tutti.”
The apology may be too late.