Pope Benedict Topless South of France Photos Sold to French Magazine

COTE D'AZUR - France - The Vatican is 'saddened and disappointed' at the decision by the French magazine Zut Alors! to publish topless pictures of the Pope Benedict XVI during his recent holiday in the South of France.

Zut Alors! says the pictures will appear in its latest issue, due to be released on 14 November. A teaser of the magazine’s front cover has already appeared on Zut Alors‘s website, featuring pictures of the Pope in a papal vestment apparently about to remove his top as well as alleged photos of him frolicking in a pool.

The pictures were taken with a long lens when Pope Benedict was staying at the French chateau owned by the Vatican, a week before flying back to the Holy See to commence preperations for the Christmas period.

According to a report from the BBC Paris bureau, the pictures are blurry but the person in them is clearly the Pope.

“The Pope and Vatican are saddened that his privacy has been breached. It’s a terrible violation of privacy when Pope Benedict was simply sunning himself,” Vatican officials told Sky News.

“He woke up to the story this morning (and) has seen the photos, which were taken at a private hotel by a private swimming pool.”

It is reported that several British and Italian newspapers were offered the pictures, but all declined the opportunity to publish.