Good Morning, America (which has, in recent weeks, become increasingly hard to tolerate) has a story today about B XVI's recent statement that Christmas has become too commercialized and that we're forcusing too much on the gifts, instead of the, ahem, "reason for the season." He suggested every home have a Nativity scene (I've never seen one that doesn't around Christmas, but whatever) in order to teach children and others the true meaning of the holiday and help kids see that there's more to it than just the gifts under the big tree on the morning of the 25th.
The hypocrisy part comes in when the reporter started talking about his red Prada slippers, his Gucci sunglasses, the Merceedes "popemobile". Uh, I think I r4ead somewhere (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) that most popes before JP II wore the red slippers that were fashioned by Prada or another Italian designer house--that's the way it was, it was what they wore. The Gucci sunglasses and the Merceedes were gifts, according to a Vatican source, so why do we have a problem with that? I mean, come on. The pope gets more gifts than probably anyone in the world, and he's bound to use some of them. That's not stated as wrong anywhere in the papal by-laws, is it? Unless he's part on a religious order that's sworn of material possessions, he can have them. He doesn't have many--I'm inclined to let him have his Gucci sunglasses. Besides, he lived in Rome a long time before he was Pope and I'm sure he did some "shopping" on his own, or had people give him gifts before he was pope. What's he supposed to do, stop using them because he has a new title? That seems a little odd, or even wasteful, if the items are still in good shape. I'm sorry, but I don't think the fact that the pope wears Prada shoes or is driven around in a Merceedes creates credibility problems for the Vatican.