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?