Hide the Beer and the Tampons! The Pope’s Comin’!

From Pam and Twisty, one of the more bizarre examples of the Potemkin Village syndrome I’ve seen:

The last Pope, John Paul II, used to have tubs of his favourite flavour, marron glace, delivered to his summer residence.

But if his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, wants to see how Polish ice cream compares during a trip there this week, he is likely to be disappointed.

The southern town of Wadowice, where Pope John Paul II was born, has banned the sale of takeaway ice creams and cream cakes for the duration of the visit.


The rationale for this is that cakes and ice cream can “go off” during the summer months, and we don’t want Der Popenstein seeing people retching. Or something. They’re free to retch and get food poisoning from bad ice cream when the Pope’s *not* in town, however.

I realize that this is Poland, JPII’s home country, and Popiness is big business there (if you go to the confessional booths at St. Peter’s Basilica, you’ll see that each one has a sign outside listing the languages spoken by the priests within. Polish was listed more than any other language save Italian when I was there a few years ago). But this kind of cleaning up and looking pious isn’t limited to the small town where JPII grew up; the entire *country* is going to be on its best behavior.

This, of course, means banning stuff. The most bizarre of the banned items is alcohol.

Areas that the Pope will visit, including the cities of Warsaw and Krakow, will be dry, with a ban on all alcohol sales while the Pope is in town.

Bizarre? Why, yes — one of the compensations for being Catholic is that alcohol is not off-limits. It’s the blood of Christ!

But of course, Papa Ratzi, a beer-lovin’ German, is exempt from the ban:

Pope Benedict XVI himself will be offered both red and white wine as he attends a series of gala dinners, according to local media reports.

Oh, but now we get to the real good stuff — the Prada Pope must never, ever know that women menstruate or have breasts that need lifting or sexual needs that might need satisfying without making babies:

In fact, television advertisements for alcohol have also been banned, along with those for contraceptives, lingerie and tampons.

Even a television advert for a new television has been barred. The ad featuring a couple appearing to have sex promoting the “multiple pleasures” of LG Phillips television sets is currently only aired late at night and will not be shown at all during the Pope’s visit.

Is the Pope given to late-night viewing of Poland’s equivalent of Skinemax or something? You’d think the guy would be scheduled up the yin-yang and wouldn’t have time to sit on the gold-encrusted couch and channel-surf.

Ah, but here’s the rationale: it’s for the “faithful” watching coverage of the visit. Can’t offend the “faithful.”

“There is always the risk that the faithful may feel hurt if programming devoted to the Pope’s visit is interrupted by frivolous ads,” Zbigniew Badziak, head of advertising for Telewizja Polska, the state-run TV network, told the Associated Press news agency.

Good to know that menstruation is “frivolous.” Do they know where baby Catholics come from?

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16 comments for “Hide the Beer and the Tampons! The Pope’s Comin’!

  1. May 25, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Do they know where baby Catholics come from?

    Baby Catholics come from the baptismal font. Before that they’re only baby humans. (Not that they cease being baby humans afterwards, of course.)

  2. May 25, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Good to know that menstruation is “frivolous.” Do they know where baby Catholics come from?

    Of course it’s frivolous. If you’re properly avoiding birth control, you’ll be pregnant, not menstruating.

  3. May 25, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    May I just say that the title of this post cracked me up. A lot. A really lot.

  4. Marksman2000
    May 25, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Yep, seems odd coming from a church that condones child molestation.

  5. NIamh
    May 25, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Is it just tampons? Or are ads for pads banned too? I’d think the latter but I’ve only seen it referenced as “tampons” which makes me wonder– what subspecies of ridiculous are we talking here? “ew, women bleed!” or ” some evil sluts know where their vaginas are!”

  6. Kat
    May 25, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    To clarify, is it the Church that has asked for these bans, or is it the Polish government acting (or more correctly, overreacting) of their own accord?

  7. May 25, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Good point, Kat; I’d be surprised if anyone at the Curia spends enough time thinking about tampons to have requested the Pope not see ads for them.

  8. May 25, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    Talk about a patriarch. The whole country is acting like teenagers at a party when dad comes home.

  9. zuzu
    May 25, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    You know, I’m sure they make the Pope’s preferences known, and the government takes care of the banning stuff. The Vatican, being a nation-state in its own right, has to walk a fine line when making demands, lest they be seen as meddling in the internal affairs of another state.

    Poland has benefitted so much from the papal associations, though, that I’m sure they do whatever the guy in the pointy hat wants.

  10. Ledasmom
    May 25, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Who else wants to sneak over there and decorate the whole town with those little Christmas angels made out of tampons? Anyone with me?

  11. May 25, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Kat, by the BBC article it looks like it’s not even state control. They mention a town and its health inspector, “Polish police,” and the head of advertising for the state-run TV channel. Less top-down and more individual self-censorship. Strange.

    I bet the pope doesn’t care about beer or tampon ads.

    Also, anybody who leaves ice cream out long enough for it to go off in the summertime is a fool.

  12. Kat
    May 26, 2006 at 8:39 am

    Wouldn’t ice cream melt before it went off?

    I wonder if the Pope even knows what tampons are.

  13. zuzu
    May 26, 2006 at 8:47 am

    If you use raw eggs in ice cream (really, frozen custard), it could go off if it melted a bit and then got refrozen.

    I dunno about the Pope, but the folks at Landover Baptist consider tampons Satan’s little cotton fingers.

  14. L.
    May 26, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    I just said in my own post on this, if I were a Polish feminist, I would be plotting ways to get feminine hygiene products back into the papal visit coverage. (Similar to Ledasmom`s idea above!)

    Perhaps I would attend a papal mass wearing tampons as earrings. Better yet, why not make entire rosaries out of tampons?

  15. May 27, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    Yeah, I’m going to take advice or follow the rules of a former nazi. Not going to happen.
    I mean, Jesus, where does it end? Abortion. Birth control. Tampons. What’s next, what positions we’re allowed?

  16. Fruktkake
    May 28, 2006 at 9:29 am

    A Godly woman is only to use a Maxi-Pad
    I want to make a T-shirt with this on

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