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NEW YORK — As Pope Francis’ visit to New York continues, there’s been plenty of chatter about whether the pope’s first stop will be a replica of a handbag.
In an article published in the Sunday Times, Vatican historian Giuseppe Sforza argues that the Vatican was “justifiably concerned” about counterfeits, which “have become the hallmark of the counterfeit economy” and are a threat to the Church’s credibility.
Sforza also warns that counterfeiters are using the counterfeit-related crisis to “frighten the faithful.”
The pope is in New York for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and has been touring the city’s museums and galleries.
The Vatican, for its part, has been very critical of the use of the fake handbag crisis to push back against criticism of its official activities.
During his visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, Francis called for a “robust debate on counterfeiting,” and urged the Vatican to put more effort into investigating counterfeits.
The Vatican has not yet released any photographs of the pope in a replica handbag, but the New York Times article makes clear that the pontiff will likely use a replica.
“It’s not just a case of the Vatican being embarrassed by the real handbag,” Sforzas writes.
“It’s also a case that it’s a case where the counterfeits are just as serious and serious as the real ones.
The Pope will probably use a fake, just like we have seen him do many times before.”
Sforzass wrote that Francis is “not going to show off” his new replica because he knows that the papacy is “under siege” from “a large and powerful counterfeit-crime syndicate.”