Attention, Catholic shoppers: The 500,000 faithful expected at the World Youth Day conference in Denver, Aug. 11 to 15, where Pope John Paul II will say Mass, will be able to take home a host of Pope-abilia. On sale: everything from Pope Scopes for viewing His Holiness to T-shirts bearing a picture of the Pope in a thumbs-up gesture and the words "Most Excellent."
"We wanted to show the Church has a sense of humor," says John C. Lemke of Famous Artists Merchandising Exchange, which won the job of approving 220 souvenirs on behalf of World Youth Day, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. Some items tested the Church's sense of decorum and lost, like a "Pope on a Slope" sculpture of His Holiness skiing down a mountain. Says a conference spokeswoman: "There is a fine but delicate balance between appropriate and tacky."