Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Coffee and the Pope

God bless Pope Clement VIII for knowing when to bless the beans!
A coffee craze first gripped the world about six hundred years ago in the Middle East. Some of the earliest coffee fanatics were Muslim mystics, trying to stay awake for nighttime worship. As coffee became popular, it also became controversial. Early coffeehouses were such brewing grounds for radical ideas that authorities in Mecca and Cairo tried to outlaw the drink. The prohibitions proved ineffective.

When coffee hit Europe in the late 1500s, priests at the Vatican argued that it was a satanic concoction of Islamic infidels. Accordingly, they thought it should be banned. That's when Pope Clement VIII stepped in. After giving coffee a taste, he gave his blessing to the bean.

"This Satan's drink is so delicious," he supposedly said, "it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall fool Satan by baptizing it.

With this papal blessing, coffee soon began to conquer Europe, and become the morning necessity for many people today.

No comments: