…..on papal blessings. According to this, “since Leo XIII” the shops surrounding St. Peter’s Basilica have been permitted to sell papal certificates, which people buy as gifts for occasions like a wedding, birthday or first communion. The papal almoner has written the shopkeepers to inform them that starting in January 2015, the practice will end. It appears that the reason involves the fact that shopkeepers sell the certificates for 10 to 50 euros, but only 3 euros goes back to the Vatican.
Now that the Vatican will once again exclusively offer the blessings, all of the profit raised from donations will be used to “exercise charity for the poor in the name of the Holy Father.”
Through the goodness of technology, you can visit the “Elemosineria Apostolica” and order a certificate on-line, and make a donation, but the site indicates that “the granting of the Papal Blessing is absolutely free and that the payment requested is only a contribution towards the cost of the parchment and to defray the expenses of wrapping and postage. All money paid to the Elemosineria Apostolica for blessing is used for the Holy Father’s works of charity.”