Wanna Rent The Sistine Chapel? Porsche Does, And Pope Francis Is Totally Into It
The coolest pope the world ever did see has a new addition to his already-long list of firsts in the history of the Catholic Church — Pope Francis rented out the Sistine Chapel for a private corporate event, hosted by another quintessential Italian brand. Porsche.
40 selected tourists will attend the very exclusive event, which is part of a five-day tour of Rome. There, they will be serenaded by a choir from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and be treated to a "gala dinner" where they will be "surrounded by masterpieces by world-famous artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael," a Porsche Travel Club spokeswoman told The Telegraph.
Although the Vatican didn't reveal how much money it will receive from the event, the tour itself costs up to €5,000 ($6,400) per head, its total amounting to €200,000 ($255,000). The proceeds will be given to Catholic charities of the Pope's choice that work with the poor and homeless. According to The Telegraph, Monsignor Paolo Nicolini, the administrative director of the Vatican Museums, said a donation would be asked of companies like Porsche, should they wish to use the Sistine Chapel.
"It is an initiative which will support the Pope's charity projects," said Monsignor Nicolini to press (does anyone else feel like they're in The Godfather?). "It is aimed at big companies which, through the payment of a fee, can contribute to charity activities."
Alongside the deal, the Vatican also announced that it will limit the amount of visitors to six million annually, amid concerns that sweaty, mouth-breathing tourists were damaging the frescos with their bodily fluids. Vapor, man.
Since he was elected as head of the Catholic Church in March 2013, the Buenos Aires-born pope has made great strides to liberalize the church that many viewed as antiquated. He's as avant-garde as a pope can be — from his statement that priest celibacy was open to change to admitting the church's obsession with gays, abortion and birth control, Pope Francis has laid down the groundwork for a Catholic Church less uncompromising and more up-to-date with the times.
This pseudo-Robin Hood move of taking from the poor and giving to the rich isn't quite as surprising as you might think — the pope has been hailed as down-to-earth and your regular people's pope. He went so far as to call for a "poor church for the poor", a massive shift in an institution known for its financial secrecy and worth.
Concerts have taken place in the Sistine Chapel before, although they were held for private church audiences. This is the first time in its 600 year history that the Sistine Chapel has been rented out for a commercial event.
The Vatican didn't comment on whether this was a one-time thing or the beginning of a new practice, but rest assured that unless you have the means to pay for this sort of VIP affair, you'd just have to visit the Sistine Chapel with regular, clammy-tourist status.
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