I know what you were thinking when you read Thursday’s interview with Pope Francis. “Ah,” you thought to yourself, “that guy seems genuinely kind, humble and hip. Compared to previous popes, he’s a big leap forward. Yes, I know that former popes included people who presided over actual inquisitions and liked to poison their enemies, so is that really saying much? But let’s not split hairs here. Look, what I was trying to say when I was interrupted so rudely by hundreds of years of history was that the present pope seems pretty hip. He’s bringing the church into the 20th century! I realize that it’s the 21st century now, but cut the man some slack.”
“Yes,” you continued to yourself, because this had become a self-indulgent soliloquy, “I really like this Pope. I like him so much that I want — I want to smell like him.”
“Is this weird?” You frowned. “This is a little weird.”
You glanced down at your copy of the interview, where you read the Pope saying:
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently …
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
“Yeah,” you repeated to yourself. “I like this guy. I want to smell like him. He’s not a regular Pope, he’s a cool Pope!”
Well, fortunately, nooooooooow you caaaaaan!*
Excelsis Fine Fragrances offers a cologne, “Pope Francis,” which its Web site describes as, “an engaging, fresh fragrance with a citrusy top note of bergamot and a soft, woody drydown of sandalwood. Smooth and soothing, A grand aftershave.” Here is a quote from the Excelsis president and chief executive officer, a gentleman named Frederick Hass: “I put a great deal of thought and effort into creating Francis, and we are simply thrilled with the enthusiastic early reaction to it. We are hearing words like ‘gentle,’ ‘simple,’ ‘warm,’ ‘pleasing’ — and even ‘heavenly’ — used to describe the new fragrance. These are precisely the terms used by the media and the new Pope’s close associates to describe His Holiness’ own character traits and personal demeanor.”
This isn’t their only pope-flavored cologne. They also have one so you can smell like Pius IX, based on his own aftershave, and another, Benedictus, in which, the site notes, a “marriage of linden blossom from Benedict’s native Germany with frankincense from the Holy Land and bergamot from Italy creates a subtle fragrance, befitting a man of finely cultivated tastes. Barely perceptible is a nuance of citrus, and as it evolves, a discrete hint of musk.” So, if you would prefer a discrete hint of Benedictine musk to the humility-flavored dry down of sandalwood in your papal fragrances, you should probably go for that one.
Otherwise, try “Francis,” which comes with a dove on the bottle and smells like intangible traits of character! Now you, too, can have that distinct yet elusive aroma of humility, simplicity and runaway popularity, assuming those concepts have associated smells! I don’t know if you can smell like not-wasting-your-money-on-strange-indulgences, another of the pope’s reputed traits, but you can certainly try.
*The pope is not actually affiliated with this fragrance. I doubt it will make you smell like him.