Blessed Virgin is no longer flavour of the month at Pret A Manger

**Blessed Virgin is no longer flavour of the month at Pret A Manger **

The sandwich chain Pret A Manger has caved into religious protests and withdrawn its new Virgin Mary crisps.

The own-brand variety was pulled from the shelves after a campaign led by the Catholic organisation Protect the Pope. Catholics had complained the name was offensive because of the reference to Christ’s mother, despite it also being the common name for the non-alcoholic version of the Bloody Mary cocktail.

Pret A Manger’s chief executive, Clive Schlee, initially defended the name of the crisps but gave the order to withdraw them after more complaints were received.


The company seems to be an upscale sandwich shop. If I understand correctly, “crisps” are what we in the US call “chips.” They are flavored and are purchased in a pre-sealed bag.

I am glad the company decided to pull the item from their menu, and distribute the inventory to homeless charities.

But perhaps it would be best if they were not passed along to Catholic-run facilities. :o

Impiety - the most proficient weapon to aid atheistic humanism.

You are right,they are akin to Starbucks in the style of food and drink on their menu, To give Americans a reference point to work from. Like them they sell vastly overpriced coffee and sandwiches. I find the way Starbucks, Costa and Pret have virtually driven out all independent coffee shops in London’s central areas to be really irksome. There were numerous coffee bars started by Italian immigrants and others which had traded for many years and offered far superior coffee and food in many cases which were driven out by the endless influxe of these chains. I can remember a Portugese coffee shop near where i worked for half a decade which sold coffee at a far cheaper price than these companies and whose food was made right in front of your face and tasted great. Whereas bland swill is often what you get from these places.

There seems to be a discrepancy between the name of the crisps and the thread title.

There is, but that is due to the fact that thread titles in this part of the forum must use exactly the title of the article as the title of the thread.

Divine Praises in reparation for the sins of blasphemy and sacrelige:
** Blessed be God. Blessed be His Holy Name. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Blessed be the Name of Jesus. Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart. Blessed be His Most Precious Blood. Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy. Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception. Blessed be her Glorious Assumption. Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother. Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. **

Maybe it’s because I’m not British and rarely pick up on all the subtleties of British humor, but I really don’t get why this is offensive? Is there a context that I’m missing or something? Did the bag the chips came in have a disrespectful image on it? I’m honestly confused about why of all things this is being fussed over.

Here’s a bag of the crisps (not chips, crisps!), this is pretty standard packaging for Pret whose products tend to use a similar look across the range:-

The name was not coined to be offensive I would think as it refers to a non-alcoholic coctail both in the UK, US and elsewhere.

:smiley: You’ll now have to explain what the American counterpart to chips are, Jharek.

Just so I have a full understanding of the context, a Virgin Mary beverage more or less is flavored in the same way as these chips/crisps?

Also, are there any Virgin Mary/potato related jokes running around in Britain that would explain why this might be offensive to some?

The complaints were led by the UK organization, Protect the Pope. Here is an explanation from their website:

The Pret A Manger’s CEO should know better than to use the name of Our Lady, the Mother of God, to sell a snack food. It’s cheap, demeans the name of the Virgin Mary, and offends Catholics who hold Our Lady in the highest regard. It’s irrelevant what the CEO’s employees tell him in the office about the appropriateness of the name, it’s what Catholics think that counts. What will practicing Catholics first think of when they see the name ‘Virgin Mary crisps’? Not a well known cocktail for sure.

There are 53 references to the title ‘Virgin Mary’ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church’, including the following:

The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men. ‘Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.” (CCC 53-54).

Or how about this from St. Augustine:

Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).

And Pret A Manger wonders why Catholics feel insulted and offended by this demeaning use of the Virgin Mary’s name?

No, personally I find it mildly offensive but a mistake rather than a deliberate attempt to offend. Much like Ben and Jerry’s blackly comic (pun intended here!) mistake of releasing a ‘Black and Tan’ flavour ice-cream and using that name for the flavour in Ireland. They just didn’t do the research of take into account these consequences.

Unless there is something I’m not getting here, I think the “Protect the Pope” group is being foolish and petty. Even if the first thing I think about when I hear “Virgin Mary” is the Mother of God and I might be confused when I initially see the label, I’m going to notice the image of the bloody Mary cocktail on the front of the bag and see the flavoring and say, “Oh, I get it!” One doesn’t help their case by being hypersensitive to trivial things that were done completely without malice.

Keeping God’s name holy also applies to holy persons. I refuse to watch T.V. because they use His name as a curse word.

:eek: :eek:

Their intent is not the issue so much as the action of trivializing that which we hold sacred and dear.

:thumbsup: This is also a case where the CEO is Catholic and, similar to mine, many of the complaints against Pret contained: “You should know better than that” clause.

I was not aware the CEO was Catholic. that been the case he should indeed have known better and that alters my view of whether the offence was accidental or not.

I honestly don’t think anything was trivialized. People have called non-alchoholic beverages “virgin” drinks for ever. There are virgin daquaris and virgin margharitas. The label on the bag clearly shows a virgin Mary beverage. Has anyone ever complained about bars that offer a virgin Mary beverage? If not, I think Protect the Pope has alot of work to do cause there’s a whole lot of bars in Britain and they probably all serve that cocktail. If people want to demonstrate respect and love for the Virgin Mary, they could do it proactively. For example, there is a giant image of Our Lady of Guadelupe posted along several highways in my area with a positive message. It seems to me that efforts similar to this would go alot further then childishly fussing over something like this. There’s a sandwich shop that I frequent that serves a giant sandwich with three kinds of meat on it. It’s promoted as the Holy Trinity. I suppose I should be outraged at that as well? I’m sorry. Maybe Britain is a perfect place to live where disrespect toward faithful Catholics is extremely rare so that organizations have time to fuss at sandwich shop owners over a play on words like that. However, with all the genuine and blatant disrespect toward the Church going on in my neck of the woods, I just don’t have enough righteous rage left in me to be shocked and horrified over a bag of potato chips. (or crisps.)

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