Pope Francis is on sale
Preparations for Pope Francis’s arrival next week have been pretty intensive. A 37,000-strong security team will be deployed by the Armed Forces to protect the pope during his five-day visit. MMDA traffic enforcers, meanwhile, will be required to wear adult diapers during the pope’s open-air mass in Rizal Park, to make sure they won’t leave their posts when nature calls. In fact, there will be a dry run (ooh pun!) tomorrow of the diaper-wearing procedure during the Black Nazarene procession.
There has also been a strong rise in sales of Pope Francis paraphernalia. Booths selling papal goodies have even popped up inside malls. Enterprising folks have latched on to Pope Francis’ popularity, for very obvious reasons: The “Francis effect” can boost merchandise sales by 200 percent. But this seems to escape them:
THERE IS AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF MERCHANDISE FOR THE POPE’S VISIT DID NO ONE READ HIS VIEWS ON CAPITALISM?
— jodorowsky’s dude (@cocoquizon) January 6, 2015
Right. Pope Francis has famously criticized overspending and modern capitalism. From the papal document “Joy of the Gospel,” he says:
“The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”
Ironically, plenty of what the market offers us bears the image of His Holiness. From the standard t-shirts, mugs, tumblers, keychains, and button pins, there are some standout papal merchandise, such as plush toys, “Pope Francis is my homeboy” stickers, phone cases, shot glasses, boxer shorts, and horror of horrors, a thong.
Pope Francis shirts (thank goodness, not thongs) will probably be the outfit of choice in this month’s Sinulog Festival, as they have reportedly been a hit at the ongoing trade fair. Gasp! Could Pope Francis topple Che Guevara as the face who launched a gazillion t-shirts? We kid. But frankly, it’s interesting how so many people are cashing out on the Pope’s popularity. While some of the merchandise have proceeds going to charity and other good causes, others are less clear about any charitable goals they are helping, if any.
Just take a look at all these papal goodies:
“Precious Moments” doll
Just when we thought the heyday of Precious Moments figurines and cross-stitch patterns is over, they suddenly come up with this limited-edition Pope Francis doll. Your tita will love this.
Some hotels in Manila are offering discounted room rates during the papal visit. The Pope will be staying at the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue, though. So the chances of you running into him at the breakfast hall is completely bust.
A bag that reminds you not to overspend when you’re grocery shopping.
— Caritas Manila, Inc (@CaritasManila) January 5, 2015
Of course. What’s a big event without a t-shirt made especially for that big event?
T-shirts that sparked controversy
ABS-CBN produced a line of t-shirts that were frowned upon by the CBCP.
Commemorative PHLPost stamp
Serious stamp collectors should get their hands on these Pope Francis prints before they run out. Serious coin collectors, on the other hand, must wait for the Bank of the Philippines’s 50- and 500-peso commemorative coins that will be released in honor of the papal visit.
An entire booth at the mall
It’s like one of those booths selling merch at rock concerts. Everything that shows your undying support for
capitalism Pope Francis is available here.