Controversial Super Bowl commercial

by Heidi Schlumpf

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While this football fan is still reveling in yesterday's Green Bay Packer victory over "Da Bears," others already have their eyes on the Super Bowl. Cranky Catholics protesting a proposed commercial, that is.

A submission in a commercial contest created by Doritos and Pepsi depicts a pastor with a declining flock that magically increases when he starts distributing Doritos and Pepsi for communion. (The version on Pepsi's website here is edited to feature just Doritos.)

Although there's some online debate about whether the commercial depicts a Catholic or Protestant church (Would that make a difference?), Catholics--especially traditionalist bloggers--are irate. There's even an online petition sponsored by the "America Needs Fatima" organization.

The irony is that the video is not even one of the five finalists so will never be aired. But all those protesters are giving it plenty of exposure.

I'm torn: I think media images are powerful and this does not reflect the sacredness of the Eucharist. On the other hand, it's kind of funny and certainly not meant to be a serious comment on communion (though maybe a more painfully true jab about church attendance).

I do think these protests are designed to paint the church as the poor, little victim of the big, bad secular media. When the truth is that this is some small-potatoes, amateur video that didn't even make it to the finals of the contest. And the church continues to have plenty of power.

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