The Catholic Church in the U.K. has had to resort to desperate measures in order to fund the Pope’s September visit.
TIME’s Frances Perraudin has more …
To raise money they’ve released a range of papal visit memorabilia, from baseball caps — possibly inspired by the white baseball cap the pontiff was spotted wearing earlier this year — to $50 Swarovski crystal bracelets. The Roman Catholic Church will need to sell these by the bucket load in order to fund ‘The Visit’, as organizers are ominously calling the event. The reason for the concern? It’s set to cost around $32 million, with $11 million coming directly from the Church. Costs are so high because of new health and safety requirements and the increased risk of terror attacks.
However, unofficial memorabilia sellers are providing even more exciting options. At www.catholicswithattitude.net you can choose from T-Shirts and sweatshirts with slogans such as ‘Team Benedict’, ‘Top of the Popes’, ‘Super Papa’, ‘Vatican All Stars’ and, possibly our favorite, ‘Hi Ho, Hi Ho, I’m off to see the Pope’. You can even buy T-Shirts with an Andy Warhol inspired image of the Pope over the slogan ‘Pope Art’.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s National Secular Society, who have been campaigning against the Pope’s visit (or at the very least would like a withdrawal of the state funding), have released a T-Shirt of their own, bearing the legend ‘Pope Nope’. Much like Twilight, choose your team now.