Sunday, April 6, 2008

Merchants in the Temple?

'Pope Paraphernalia' Up for Grabs April 4, 2008:

Washington is getting ready for Pope Benedict's historic visit, including stocking the shelves at the Washington Basilica with all types of "Pope paraphernalia."

From t-shirts, key chains, mugs and bumper stickers, all types of merchandise are up for grabs. "Pope totes! Isn't it great," asked shopper Elsa Thompson.

For 50 cents, you can get the Pope on a postcard or for $675 you can get the Pope made of porcelain. At the Basilica gift store, the Pope has turned pop star, from the tasteful to the tacky.

Commemorative items marking his upcoming visit are flying off the shelves. "If we can find a bobble head of Pope Benedict, we'll probably go for that, too," said shopper Kent Graves.

Pop Benedict criticized the materialism of Christmas, so some wonder what exactly he'd think of all the Pope stuff.

"It's a little commercial. You like to think of our Holy Father as a little bit less than a commercial opportunity. But I guess everyone's gotta make a buck," said Graves.

I do think some of the paraphernalia's a little cheesey -- incidentally, The Bobble-Head Benedict is already available at

I'm not in much of a position to point fingers, however -- the hosting and maintenance of the Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club is actually paid for in part by our own line of "papal trinkets. ;-)