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Commercial spirit

'It's bratwurst,' said Ralph Schaller, the New York butcher, 'pork from Germany, mixed with weisswurst, which has veal in it, so it's creamier.' The resultant sausage is called Popewurst, a loving tribute to Benedict XVI to mark his visit to the USA in April.

The Pope's tour was, not unpredictably, marked by a vast outpouring of both devotion and cash. A classic fusion - confusion, some would say - of piety and consumerism.

Nelson Woodcraft, the official merchandising company appointed by the Archdiocese of Washington, produced slightly more traditional mementos, including 200,000 t-shirts, some with tour dates. They also provided the faithful with 'I love the Pope' bumper stickers, and doctrinal mugs promising to 'motivate your lunchtime brew'.

The Mount Carmel Catholic bookshop in New York offered custom-made cushions depicting his Holiness and filled with French lavender. 'We called it Pope Pourri,' explained the manager, Richard Janniello. 'That was just a little marketing thing.'

The most controversial artifact proved to be the Bobblehead Pope. These dolls, with outsized nodding heads, modelled on popular figures from Homer Simpson to Prince William, are supposed to sit in the back windows of cars. Washington Metro made an advertisement showing the Bobblehead Benedict, in red skull cap, taking the Metro, to encourage those coming to the Mass to leave their cars at home.

They pulled the ad after complaints from the Archdiocese. There were concerns about irreverence but, the main issue was more mundane. 'This was a bad bobblehead', a spokeswoman told the Washington Post. 'Popes wear white skullcaps. You had unauthorized merchandise, and you had a misdressed Pope.'