If you’ve been following the advance news reports for Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States, it seems a little like The Beatles meets One Direction in terms of hype and hysteria. Glancing at the calendar I suddenly realize, it's (wait for it) The Final Countdown.
That was such an awful trick you almost forgot to admire that Pope visit tracking link. Good that I'm here. I think we should scrutinize that a little more closely and linger for just a moment, shall we, on the marketing machine (and I do mean that) behind ‘the site for Pope Francis’ visit to the US,’ that calls itself CatholictotheMax.com.
I’m torn, I really am; I cannot decide which I like more, the Catholic Hoodies or the Catholic Tote Bags. Ah, c’mon, you probably know that neither one really makes my heart beat faster. This is the one I truly love, but I’ll bet the licensing agreements couldn’t be worked out in time. And yes, I confess they had me at Gadgets for God.
I have to wonder if His Holiness’ faith is being tested by all the hub-bub that’s moved center stage from the sideshow as his arrival to our shores nears. I don’t just mean the black market on line sales of free tickets, that's moneychangers in the Temple stuff, in this case Etsy and eBay, though that is probably causing him to wonder about us just a little bit. Perhaps he already has.
I am sure somewhere in a boardroom there were folks calculating the odds of getting to finish their one-on-one pitch for corporate sponsorship by the Pope for all manner of goods and services. I can see him taking Karl Malden’s place in those AmEx commercials (‘Never leave Rome without them!”) or becoming Jim Perdue’s stunt double hawking chicken ( or vice versa) that serves five thousand at one sitting and the list of endorsements goes on forever to include Twitter.
Sorry, birds of the air and lilies of the field-the suits in corporate have finally found the one true religion, and you ain’t it. Can I get an Amen?