LONDON – As recession continues to bite in Italy, tailors to the Pope since 1798. was all smiles at the weekend with news that the Vatican had come shopping.
With six newly created “global” cardinals, who will still have to be kitted out in traditional style, Gammarelli began work on kitting out six newly-elected cardinals from the United States, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Lebanon and Colombia.
When a bishop is made a cardinal or “prince of the church”, he ditches his violet-coloured garments for new red ones. But that’s not all; the sixth generation Gammarellis – Massimiliano, Lorenzo and Stefano Paolo – were busy preparing a long list of the clothes and accessories the cardinals will need.
A pair of cassocks – one red and one black – costs around 1,500euros. Then there are red mozzetta hoods at 200 euros a pop; three-pointed hats at 100 euros, zucchetto skull caps and special red socks, as well as a fascia or sash at 120 euros.
While an order worth several thousand euros might mean a lot for a family business in the middle of a recession, the bill won’t cause much concern at the Vatican.
Proceeds have been falling of late as the number of the faithful dwindles, but the Catholic Church still has very deep pockets – underlined by the voluntary donations of 800m pounds it receives from Italian taxpayers each year.
Additionally, there was good news for the Vatican earlier this month when it emerged that the Church would remain largely exempt from at least one form of taxation, the local Imu property tax, which will not now, it appears, be levied on places such as church-run hotels, hostels and clinics.
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