ABC News reports that Pope Benedict XVI commissioned Italian celebrity perfume maker Silvana Casoli to create a personal, “heavenly scent” for the pontiff. Inspired by nature, the perfume's ingredients will not be divulged to the public. The fragrance's name is a highly guarded secret as well.
Can you imagine the Pope and his cardinals gathered together in the Sistine Chapel, tossing around possible names for the Pope's signature scent? ABC hit on the obvious choice with its “heavenly scent” reference, but they missed the equally banal Eau de Benedict and Eau de Vatican. How about something salty and strong, like Fisher of Men? On second thought, that conjures images of the Gorton's Fisherman, and we all know the Holy Father is from Germany, not Gloucester. What about a bold, powerful moniker, like Pontifex Maximus (Holy Roman Pontiff)? Hmmm...no. Sounds too much like the name of a pit bull or a pro-wrestler, hardly desired images for the Pope. How about Incense? I guess not; anybody who has ever caught a whiff of incense in a Catholic church does not want to smell like that. Perhaps the Vatican should go with the ethereal, like Epiphany or Paraclete? Scratch those, too. People can't spell parakeet correctly, let alone Paraclete or Epiphany. What about Sancta Sedes, Latin for Holy Chair? Sound like a bottle of sangria rather than cologne? Back to the drawing board...
Wait! Stop the presses! I've got it! Pope Benedict's signature fragrance should be called...drum roll...or bell toll, please! Infallible! It's a perfect name! A new age has dawned; send up the white smoke!
At this point, I am compelled to offer a disclaimer: I am a Catholic, and though I don't always agree with the Pope, he is the leader of the church and fully deserving of all the respect due the Holy Office and the Catholic tradition.
That being said, I don't understand. In a day and age when need and strife run rampant, shouldn't the money spent on Infallible, or whatever it is truly called, be put to better use, dedicated to a more humane purpose? Shouldn't the Pope be non-materialistic, a prime example for the rest of us? On the other hand, as a mere mortal, the Pope is subject to the same indulgences as the rest of us. According to the History Channel, Pope Benedict's favorite soda is Fanta Orange, and I would surely not deny him that, but why does a pope need a celebrity fragrance, or for that matter, a fur-lined, red cape, Prada shoes, or Gucci sunglasses (all of which the Vatican denies he possesses)? It seems a bit frivolous, self-indulgent and downright silly.
Indeed, the Pope has the right to wear whatever he desires, but if I were in his shoes, Prada or not, I'd simply order a bottle of Pierre Cardin from amazon.com or have some Old Spice delivered from the market.