Sunday, December 03, 2006

Priest of the Month

Folks, it’s Sunday, a religious day, and I have a topic on a somewhat religious note for you. Now, please don’t get offended by this. I’m a little nervous even going here but in all sincerity, I am just trying to unravel and demystify a phenomenon that has been puzzling me for the last few years, when I first saw it appear on Roman newsstands. So, without further ado, I give you: the “hot priests” calendar:

For the price of just €6 (about $8 US), you too can be the proud owner of 12 months of black and white shots of men of the cloth.

What IS this?

I mean, first of all: will you please look at Mr. March?

Is that not just a little bit, well, I don’t know…suggestive? It kind of gives me the heeby-jeebies. I mean, it’s a priest. And if I’m not mistaken, they’ve taken a photo of him, trying to make him look almost seductive. Do I need a new pair of contact lenses or is this a fairly accurate assessment?

Another point to make note of: there’s not one ugly priest in the bunch. It’s not like they got a shot of some 90-year old priest giving confession, or tried to represent the entire spectrum. These priests are in their prime and they are all fairly or very good-looking. I mean, HELLO October!

Again, I feel kind of blasphemous even saying that but people, is it not the truth?

This brings us to several questions:

1) Who makes this calendar and why?
2) Perhaps in answer to why: where do the profits go? Charity?
3) What is the target market for this calendar? I mean, WHO really buys it?

Yes, people, I bought the calendar, but only in the name of blogging. I swear! I was considering taking some photos of it at the newsstand but in the end, the embarrassment quotient of taking digital shots of the thing from the sidewalk was, for me, greater than that of actually purchasing it and then scanning various photos at my leisure.

Now. In answer to question #1: they have a website. I saw the name Piero Pazzi on the calendar, looked it up on Google, and there it was. I don’t see it written anywhere that the profits go to charity, because the same website also offers a calendar of Venetian gondoliers (which, frankly, I would feel a lot less guilty about hanging on my wall and admiring) and a calendar of angels. So the answer to part 2 of question 1 is clearly: cha-ching. Unless you can find evidence to the contrary. I don’t feel like going to the trouble of emailing the guy to ask because it seems fairly clear to me. In the English part of his website, he explains the calendar's purpose like so:

This calendar intends to give basic information and some notes on the general characteristics of the Vatican with the hope of sating the thirst for knowledge continually demonstrated by the Eternal City's visitors.

Yes, you read that right. Please, Mr. Pazzi, sate my "thirst for knowledge."

All I could find by way of news was this little bit in Italian, which says that it’s the 5th year running that Pazzi, himself a gondolier, has made the calendar, and that the photos are all taken during public services and on the streets, in Seville, Rome, and Venice. Do you think the priests have to sign some kind of release form or get permission from someone in the Church to be photographed and appear in this calendar? Do you think they even know what the photos are for?

I ran into a discussion thread in Italian here, where the participants are trying to answer the same questions. One even contacted some people associated with the Church but didn't get any answers. Someone suggests that they might not be actual priests. I have no idea, but it seems like it would be a heck of a lot of trouble to go to, dressing these guys up and parading them around. My gut feeling is that they are real priests.

Signore Pazzi (which, coincidentally, translates to “Mr. Crazies”) suggests on his website that his calendars make a great Christmas present. So, looking for that perfect gift for the person in your life who's got everything? I can almost guarantee you they don’t have this.

And folks, I still have mine. Now that it has served its purpose, I’m putting it out in the first ever At Home in Rome Rummage Sale. Only at my rummage sale, like the one I saw over at my pal African Kelli’s place, is a free one. So, first come, first served, and it’s yours, in the mail and on its way. Just send an email with your mailing address to ahirswap AT gmail DOT com. Leave a comment so others know when it's taken.

At this point I guess all that's left to say is Happy Holidays, and happy priest-admiring! (Heeby jeebies, I tell you!)

Oh, and by the way? Apparently they’re doing “casting” for 2008. Know anyone who might be interested?

33 comments:

J.Doe said...

I don't think the people who buy this calendar to gawk at the priests will become more religious to the teachings of the church. What were they really thinking when they published this?

Ebony and Ivory said...

I couldn't help but laugh at this. It's bizarre!! I mean, doesn't this go against everything the church stands for??? Temptation, lust...lol! I have to admit, these priests are hot, but now I feel like I should go to confession or something...Money IS the root of all evil.

valerie said...

I saw that on the street in Rome, too and thought the same thing...a little creepy!

East of Oregon said...

things that make you go.. hmmmmmmmmmm. thanks for sharing that. I wouldn't have thought in a million years that some priests would be paraded in a calendar such as that. Disturbing is the word. You are so right. take care!

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Shelley - I saw that calendar as well in the bookshop on Via del Moro, and I remember having a conversation with someone and they said that that year there was really only one real priest! It is strange, tho. :)

Julie said...

I am shocked! That is really awful, I can't believe it. But it's got me laughing! You come up with really entertaining stuff. :-0

Elizabeth said...

Yikes! I'm sure my devout-latin-mass-going MIL would just love one of these for christmas!
And what's up with the one petting the cat? Very weird.

Moon Martini said...

Ahhhh, forbidden fruit.
Ok, I feel a bit dirty now. I may need to go to confession.

Moon Martini said...

Hi Shelley,

I sent you an email about the calendar.
Cheers,

Sierra

mad said...

I think thats awesome....am I the only one?? Wish our local priest was as cute as Mr March, I'd might go to mass more often if he were....nothing wrong with perving at them (i think or maybe I'm going straight to hell :0)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

LOL. So Thornbirds (okay that might be before your time. I barely remember the TV miniseries.) That said, I wonder who exactly is the audience for such a calendar?

I was in Trastevere with a Roman friend and a very attractive priest walked by us. She was horrified when I did a double take. Maybe she is used to it, I don't see such things in my next of the woods. I think God wants us to appreciate all forms of art. :)

Expat Traveler said...

I'm guessing these are guys dressed up as priests... It is a funny situation and yes I'd be a bit embarrassed too! But they are hunks for sure!

chris & erin said...

haha! This is hilarious - you know, I think this is connected to the Gondolieri Calendars that I've seen in Venice!

Thanks for the encouraging comment on my blog! I'm enjoying reading through yours...

Kelli said...

Pretty sure lusting after priests is wrong, but hot damn!! :)

Trish said...

I just emailed Mr. Crazies to get my own calendar. I'm not necessarily religious so I don't feel one bit guilty. ;)

Stelle In Italia said...

i've seen that calendar all over too--it's SOO weird! I don't get it either. (but it still cracks me up! :) )

Seth said...

the same website also offers a calendar of Venetian gondoliers (which, frankly, I would feel a lot less guilty about hanging on my wall and admiring)

But isn't that the entire point of Catholicism?

naschkatze said...

nyc/caribbean ragazza, sooooo Thornbirds 707!

Anonymous said...

Money is a medium of exchange. It provides information about demand and supply. Its role in society is good.
It is the "love" of money that Timothy (6:10) said was the root of all evil. (emphasis added)

woodroad34 said...

Perhaps they need more women to become nuns (just to get closer those priests)! Orrrrrr, maybe they need more priests...I'm just sayin'

Brian said...

Oh my! Glad I'm wearing a cassock...!

Anonymous said...

I knew some Franciscans who had this up in the church where they had oversight. They all thought it was hilarious. I bought one for our priest - I think his favorite was June.

Julie said...

Haha! Yes, I have also seen these calendars (they're everywhere!) and my reaction was: "Oh, Father February! Won't you hear my confession?" -- as a joke of course! It's too hilarious but I suppose it's a side effect of the church's omnipresence in the city.

Anonymous said...

These are hot men, and forbidden fruit, The obvious market is to gay men (like me). The calander is delicious, and I'm ordering one to fanticise over.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that all the gorgeous priest's are kept at the Vatican. I've never seen a priest that good looking here in the US! These guys have to be models...perhaps Shelley, your next item of interest should be posted by At Home in Rome Private Investigations. Answer all our questions about these hunks! Inquiring minds want to know. MargH

Anonymous said...

The truth is finally out -- only one of those priests in the priest calendar is really a priest! (I can't remember which one, exactly, but I seem to recall it was one of the summer ones.) Mr December is a waiter in a restaurant near my apartment in piazza Vittorio, and I know that for a fact because I've had a crush on him for years, he's adorable.

Quatrefoil said...

I'm really tempted to buy this for my boss. She's a nun.

Anonymous said...

How do i get one?

Anonymous said...

As a seminary student here in Rome I can tell you for certain most of us just aren't that pretty..these guys are models! A good clue is that sometimes they are just not dressed right..hats on wrong way round etc. Sorry to shatter illusions but i guess that sorta makes the lust a little less guilty.
As to who buys them? Think Mrs. Doyle in Fr.Ted, our Housekeeper gets one every year!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Holy calendar boy, Batman!

AAAAAAAAAAAmen.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

...just perusing, they have the new Calendar out... hee hee...

http://www.calendarioromano.org/06.html

If I'd known, I would have put roots down in Italy 1 block from the Vatican years ago.
And converted to Catholicism.

;op

Scarlett

sac said...

i think it's a cultural thing...i mean europeans are more openly sexy about everything, and well italians are known for the good looks so a clanedar of a few good looking priests...i dunno....mebe doesn't mean that much to them,,,,

sac said...

but i have to confess i did buy one for my italian friends back home