I got a huge kick out of this NPR story this morning about how creative retailers are gearing up to make some real money off of the Pope’s visit to America.
We’re talking “Papal Pleasure” amber ale (me want that!), “miracle toast”–a stencil insert to your toaster that bakes Pope Francis’ face onto your toast, stuffed likenesses of His Holiness, buttons that say “Pope is Dope,” bobble-heads, even a mozzarella cheese shaped in the image of Il Papa.
One entrepreneur did the math and liked what he saw: “There’s no one out there that has that many fans and followers, so I think when you do the math on how many Catholics are out there and how they’ve been connected to the Pope it makes sense that he would be a best seller.”
One wonders what Pope Francis, a deeply humanitarian Pope on economic and environmental issues who has referred to the unfettered pursuit of money as “the dung of the devil,” would make of all this, though the story does report that “some merchandisers are donating a part of the their profits to religious charities.”
Someday, when future archaeologists dig up the ruins of late capitalist economies, they’ll write PhD dissertations of the intersection of religion and economics, as understood through toast stencils and bobble-heads. Good luck with that…