Have you seen the latest cover of Rolling Stone?  Pope Francis has made his way into pop culture.  Does it make everyone happy? Probably not.  But his new found pop star status is not as criticized as you might think.  In Rome, a healthy dose of skepticism and irreverence towards the Church (or any institution for that matter) is common and expected. The Church is a central theme in the Eternal City but don’t think that means that piety abounds throughout. I often amuse myself around Vatican City as I observe nuns on cell phones, priests sporting Nike sneakers and monks in full habit on Vespas. Age old tradition functioning in a modern world.

And the there are the souvenir shops: postcards of Jesus with eyes that follow you; shot glasses with the Vatican crest stamped on them; and my favorite: a bottle opener with an image of the Pope on it which I have (not so creatively) named THE POPENER. 



Actually, the Popener is a rare commodity these days as I can’t seem to find any with the current pope stamped on them.  Maybe he has opted out of this novelty.  I am not sure how that decision is made but it’s a shame.  I think I would like to share a beer with Papa Francesco. I do happen to have one Popener left from Benedict’s reign and as a thank you to my fans, I will be passing it on to one lucky winner.  If you would like to win it, share your favorite memory of time spent in Rome in the comments below.

Or, if you have never been there, share what you would most like to do in Rome.  I will pick one of the replies and send you this masterpiece of papal memorabilia.

10 thoughts on “Having a Beer With the Pope

  1. My fondest memory in Rome is yet to come… It will be sitting in a cafe having an espresso with you and Doug and My beautiful wife… Aaahhhh…. La Dolce Vita.

    Adam Harvey

  2. My favorite trip to Rome was the first time in 1997…it was the culmination of a life long dream…I was traveling with wonderful friends and every sight brought great joy…the Gelato..the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps…the Vatican, the Colesseum and a glimpse at Trastevere, were all that I had imagined they would be. When an opportunity to share an apt. in Trastevere with 4 friends was offered, I was thrilled and that trip was another wonderful experience in Rome.So much missed, so I really hope to return…and after all, I threw my coin in the Trevi Fountain!!!

  3. My favorite memory of Rome had to do with the fickle nature of the rules and regulations regarding the dress code in the vatican. My husband and I spent a lovely few hours in St. Peters Basilica and we were so enjoying ourselves but decided to go out to the square for some air before continuing our exploration of the inside of the church. When we attempted to return we were turned away at the door by a seminarian who decided that my skirt was too short to re-enter the building. I tried to tell him that I was in there already and the roof didn’t fall on my head and that I had 12 years of catholic school education and I was very sure that opaque tights and a skirt that stopped right at the knee would surely not offend the Lord… but he was having none of it. Such is the way of the church… you win some, you lose some.

  4. I found and read (faithfully) a blog written by a Roman who was in the film business as I was at the time. When I visited Rome in 2009 we were able to meet each other at that bookstore that’s opposite Largo Argentina. Cell phones to our ears we finally found each other! What an amazing treat-meeting an ‘old/new’ friend and chatting over a macchiato. What a great afternoon.

  5. I had the good fortune to be gifted a Popener with the likeness of Pope John Paul. It remains a great conversation piece and is always a party favorite! I’ll always remember the friend who gave it to me… ;

    Disclaimer I’m NOT looking to win a new Popener!

  6. And the winner is….. Margaret! I appreciate your attempt at explaining your situation to the guard but also the fact that one minute your dress was fine and the next minute it wasn’t. This is truly the epitome of Italy. Rules are suggestions…. but sometimes are strictly enforced. Occasionally. Congratulations Margaret! We will get that Popener out to you soon!

    Thanks to everyone who posted – great memories of Rome…. makes me want to pack my bag.

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