Much like the tacky crap that airlines try to entice you with on flights, The Vatican is offering its followers, and all round pope fans (now does the Pope have a fan club? If not then maybe the Catholic Church has missed a trick there) the chance to pick up their own official t-shirt, mug or bracelet, for the Holy Father’s UK visit later this year.
It’s not unusual for event organisers to try and rip off people, and make a quick buck with overpriced rubbish to commemorate something; but when the organisers are part of a major world religion and have legions of devoted followers who may now be encouraged to put even more (every week they’re giving to the church collection plate after all, the poor sods) of their hard more money into the coiffeurs of the Vatican, the whole thing begins to seem a bit exploitative.
I know there is an element of choice involved, and that some Catholics won’t be drawn into buying anything like this - that is the beauty of free market choice after all - but you cannot account for the die-hard conservatives and the fervent god-fearing souls out there who will now feel compelled to buy into this. It’s a bit like a car hobbyist who insists on wearing nothing but merchandise made by his favourite car brand, but instead we’re going to witness god botherers in Pope hats (will they wear a mitres like the Pope himself?), Pope t-shirts, and with Pope jackets galore.
It’s not even like this is something outlandishly evil for The Vatican to do, but it is very suspect all the same, and reeks of self interest and a certain amount of exploitation; much like those TV evangelists in the USA who keep saying “show god how much you love him by sending us money.” In the end is the pursuit of wealth about as un-Christian (Christians of most denomonations do seem to agree that Jesus wasn't best pleased with people doing business deals in the temple after all) as you can get, yet the Vatican seems quite happy to flout those rules.
It’s times like this I’m glad I’m an Atheist. At least they’ve yet to start selling Dawkins T-shirts, or Darwin T-Shirts. I think anyway…