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Firm selling papal visit hoodies calls police over anti-Catholic abuse

By on Thursday, 12 August 2010

An image from the website of Catholics with Attitude

An image from the website of Catholics with Attitude

A company selling papal visit T-shirts and hoodies has been in talks with police after receiving anti-Catholic abuse online.

Staff at Catholics with Attitude, which makes hooded tops with slogans such as “Team Benedict”, “Vatican All Stars”, and “I Love Papa Benny”, said they were “stunned” by the messages.

They said they were particularly worried because one message referred to a specific member of staff by name.

A spokesman said: “We took one look at it and thought: cops. It was not quite a threat, but it definitely had the intention of causing alarm.”

The messages, he said, referred to Catholics as “brainwashed” and “nutters”.

“We normally just get messages from people saying their jumper has arrived and they think it’s fantastic,” he said.

“It was distressing because we did not know who this person was or what they would be capable of. What would make someone want to do this?”

He said after talking about it they decided “it wasn’t us who should be going away and hiding just because we are living a Christian lifestyle”.

Staff had two meetings with police, but it is understood that no action is being taken.

The abuse came just as the company experienced a sharp rise in sales thanks to media coverage of papal visit merchandise. The spokesman said the sale of their “Team Benedict” range of hoodies had risen by a quarter over the last week or so.

But he urged Catholics to buy souvenirs from the official papal visit shop as well, saying they were not trying to compete. “I’ve got my eye on one of their jackets,” he said.

The official store opened last week, and offers everything from rosaries and prayer cards to fridge magnets and a Swarovski crystal bracelet.

Pilgrims planning to line the streets can kit themselves out with T-shirts, baseball caps and papal flags. For the Hyde Park vigil, an electronic flashing candle is available for £3.

Some of the products can also be customised so that parishioners attending a papal event together will be able to personalise flags or T-shirts.

The best-selling items so far, according to IVS, the merchandiser, are the programme, a pin badge and a Pope Benedict XVI T-shirt.

Profits from their sale will go to the Church in England, Wales and Scotland to help pay for the Pope’s visit.

Mgr Andrew Summersgill, papal visit co-ordinator, said the souvenirs would be available at big papal events as well as online.

For the Pope’s trip to America in 2008, the official merchandiser produced more than 200,000 items, including mugs, bags and a teddy bear wearing the official papal visit T-shirt. One of the most popular souvenirs, the “bobble-headed Pope”, was not part of the official range.

  • Jackie Parkes

    Can't wait to get a sweatshirt & other stuff!

  • Jeremy Macdonogh

    A flashing candle? It all sounds rather ghastly. Maybe the opposition has taste?

  • GuardianlovesPopeBen

    Well that has made my mind up … I will be getting one of those hoodies. If the general public wish to call me a nutter… I'll just have a big cheesy grin waiting for you

  • Nopope

    Antichrist, man of sin is not welcome in Scotland. To hell with popery

  • McPope

    You do not speak for the Scottish people. His Holiness is welcome here any time. In fact, the last time a reigning Pope came to Scotland, 300,000 Scots urged the Successor Of Peter to return one day with a hearty rendition of “Will Ye No' Come Back Again?” Don't profess to speak for all Scots – you speak only for yourself.

  • Nopope

    Mcpope, I speak with the authority of the Bible. The pope usurps the authority of Jesus Christ – does not the term Holy Father which he uses, tell it to you for starters. For by grace are ye saved through faith, that not of yourselves. That is the desire of true Christians for Roman Catholics including you. And for the record, Peter (who was married), was never in Rome.

  • kenny

    “Nopope” is a bigot that belongs in the past, and needs to grow up.
    I am sorry these people have been swent abusive messages. But I for one will not be buying any Catholic tat. Something the Church is only too good at producing.

  • dp

    the 'man' is very welcome in scotland..in the same way scottish catholics would welcome any other true religious leader. leave your bigtory aside…and try to truely live the Christan message!

  • Warren

    1. I'm a fan of tasteful wearable art, so-to-speak, that identifies Catholics in the public square. A good image or phrase can instigate conversation and, yes, perhaps unintentionally provoke a confrontation or two. But that's good. Non-catholics are given an opportunity to meet a practicing Christian (one hopes!) even if it's for a mere fleeting moment. God can work miracles in that moment. These days, conversation can even benefit from a reminder like a simplistic t-shirt slogan. A picture is worth a thousand words, remember, and wearing that “picture” can speak volumes to a society which needs a reminder that Christ's faithful are present and so is Christ's hope. All it takes is a moment for God to work through us to reach another person with His invitation to life. Catholics should be “ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15).

    2. Troll: internet slang. A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. (Wiki).

    3. @ Nopope – you might want to visit an apologetics site. Try exploring http://www.catholic.com. Click on “forums”.

  • geoffreysmith1

    “And for the record, Peter (who was married), was never in Rome.”

    In that case, you can tell us where he died, can't you, eh?

  • Ratbag

    The last time “No: 909E” was inscribed for the world to see was on the Titanic. Read backwards, it translates as “No Pope”. Just a factoid…

  • JP21LY

    How about Catholics With Attitude find a picture of B16 wearing dark shades surrounded by the legend: “On A Mission From God” ?

  • Patricialeck

    i am proud to belong to the CATHOLIC CHURCH and thank Jesus christ for making me me my life is nothing without him and i long for the Holy Fathers visit it strenghens my Faith and hopefully makes me abetter person so souveneers are in order and not tat by the way

  • LabradorGirl

    I like being a nutter =D Totally would buy one!