banned in the UK by its Advertising Standards Authority, as it supposedly makes fun of the Catholic Church and potentially causes offence to Catholics. But no one has banned the Pope comparing atheism and the Nazis, though that is about as offensive as anyone can get.
Nor should they: generally speaking, mere offence is not a good reason to ban speech and expression. In so far as the above image makes a visual pun in advertising the product (a brand of ice cream), it's amusing and artistic. To the extent that it expresses derision towards Catholicism, that is the kind of speech that should be especially protected - we should be free to express our feelings about powerful institutions such as the Catholic Church and its doctrines, and it's nice to know that even advertisements for ice cream can be good for something.
The Pope should, generally, be able to say what he wants, however obnoxious and meretricious. Thus, I defend his legal right to say such outrageous things as this:
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).
He should not be able to destroy the lives of individuals by saying, for example, "Stanley Snark is a Nazi" or "Betty Boojum is a pedophile." But he should be free to deride or criticise atheism, even if he says despicable and ludicrous things in the process. It's well known - and should be uncontroversial among reasonable people - that Nazism was not an atheistic philosophy, and, indeed, that its extreme anti-Semitism was grounded more in Christian history and specifically Catholic doctrine than in anything that Hitler might have gleaned from the great secular tradition of Epicurus, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill. The Pope should be legally free to make such bigoted and deceptive speeches, but he should also expect to be repaid with outspoken criticism and outright mockery of his organisation and its cruel moral doctrines.
Meanwhile, the UK's ban on the relatively harmless ice cream advertisment should be lifted. There is a good chance that it would not survive legal challenge, especially if taken all the way to the European Court of Human Rights (which has been strong on defending such images). But it should not come to that. Good sense should prevail, and the Advertising Standards Authority should withdraw its ban.