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ROME (RNS) Now in its 10th edition, the annual wall calendar best known for its black-and-white photos of attractive priests continues to spark grumbles of controversy in Italy.

Officially, it’s called “Il Calendario Romano” — The Roman Calendar — but it is popularly referred to as the “Roman beefcake calendar.”

According to Piero Pazzi, the Venice-based photographer who takes the photos and produces the calendar each year, almost all of the men he photographs — many of them in front of churches or religious monuments — are priests or seminarians. But the religious connotations end there.

According to Italian media reports, the calendar has become a kind of icon for groups ranging from female Protestant clergy to gay men. Some critics claim it projects an inappropriate image for the clergy.

But Pazzi, who produces other wall calendars, including one showing cats, brushes aside those complaints.

“It contains a great deal of important information for tourists in Rome, but I know that if I printed that by itself on a piece of paper nobody would look at it,” he said. “It’s about marketing. It’s a souvenir, not a statement of any kind.”

The 2014 edition of the calendar, which is not produced in cooperation with any religious institution, costs 10 euros (about $14) at most Vatican-area gift shops or online.

18 Comments

    • Well, beauty is beauty, whether it’s in the church or out of the church. One should be very honestly ready to recognize beauty no matter where it is found. Even though “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” it is as sacred as anything else and deserves recognition and respect. Since these priests are so well covered, it can’t be properly called a “beefcake” collection, but they are very exceptionally handsome faces.

  1. Unless the calendar has recently changed, the same photos are used each year. It’s a one-time expense for Pazzi with undoubtedly major income each year.

    If Pazzi were smart, he would sell them via the internet.

    • I was just going to say the exact same thing that Jim said. I wrote about this calendar seven years ago and the same exact photos are still being used. Dust this thing off, it’s a relic. It’s touristy shlock and can sell indefinitely to people who are in Rome once in their lives. Pazzi (Mr. “Crazies” when translated) sells one in Venice with gondoliers. For those of us who live here, it’s novel at first, then just as ridiculous and banal as the fake University of Rome sweatshirts and aprons with David’s family jewels on them. Hardy har har. However the use of the word “beefcake” was fun. You sure don’t hear that too often.

  2. I wonder whether the Vatican has had any word with Pazzi. It recently raised a stink to Fiat after the company redecorated the roof liner of one of its new 500’s with a reproduction of the Creation centerpiece on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and planned to exhibit the car at auto shows..

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