In fact, if actually such benedictions are sold on the streets around the Vatican by dozens of souvenir shops and calligraphy studios that had for decades produced the apostolic benedictions for the church, in the future, as of Jan. 1 next year, the Vatican would be making all the parchments itself.The change, based on a papal decision, was motivated as the need “to return to the origins.” Papal Blessings on parchment began to be issued about 100 years ago under Pope Leo XIII and the goal is to raise funds for the pope’s personal charitable donations to the poor through the Elemosineria Apostolica, the Vatican’s Office of Papal Charities. As Msgr. Diego Ravelli of the Office said, “people should know that they’re not paying for a parchment ,they are making an offering to the pope’s charity.” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the pope’s almoner, observed that now papal blessings were offered in shop windows “like so many salamis.” At the same time, an over-commercialization of the parchments was proved: through the Vatican, the cost of a parchment ranges from $16 to $31 but through private vendors, prices may be $75. The papal decision to change things is not agreed by the Roman vendors who expressed the hope to find a compromise. They estimate loss of work for some 500 people including calligraphers, painters and artisans.
Last year, 7,000 requests for aid were received and solved on behalf of the pontiff. Of the 337,000 parchments authenticated in 2013, 142,000 were produced outside the Vatican.