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Vatican Venti – the Papal Baptism of Coffee

When the coffee bean started to trickle into the western world back in the 16th century, the energizing effect of caffeine caused a predictable stir in society.  The appeal of a tasty beverage that would clear up fatigue for those crack-of-dawn vespers or all-nighter fresco painting sessions in Renaissance Europe probably looked like a Godsend.

Unless you asked the Vatican.

Coffee beans, originating in the Ottoman Empire (aka the land of infidel Muslims), with their foreign taste and drug-like effects looked Satanic to the Counsel of Rome, like a Muslim replacement for wine in the Eucharist.  And God help anyone who decided to have a taste.

Except, of course, for the Pope.

The man likes a strong cup of joe.

Clement VIII must have been curious, or maybe he happened to have a whiff of some freshly ground beans en route to one of his papal duties and couldn’t resist.  Either way, he rebuffed his counsel and decided to try Satan’s drink for himself before making any rash declarations.

Lucky for today’s coffee lovers, the man absolutely loved what was in his mug.  Unwilling to let go of such a find, he decided there and then to baptize coffee as a whole, reclaiming it for Christendom (and making it a permissible part of his daily routine).

And so, the cuppa became Catholic.

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September 15, 2010 Posted by | Fun Facts | , , , , , , | Leave a comment