Pope Francis’s white skullcap was donated to an online auction to raise money for an Israeli charity, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH).
The pope’s cap (calotte), expected to bring in $36,000, was famously seen when the pope traded skullcaps with an Italian television show host in Rome two years ago. The journalist who offered the pope a similar skullcap in the exchange is now selling it to raise money. The online auction house involved in the process, Catawiki, said a large part of the proceeds and commission feeds will be donated to SACH.
“It is extremely rare that a religious symbol of this magnitude goes up for auction,” Catawiki auctioneer Frederik James said. “This auction is a unique opportunity for museums, collectors, and devout Catholics to acquire ‘a relic in the making’ and also to help others by donating money to Save a Child’s Heart. Given the pope’s following, we expect to see an influx of bids from across the globe.”
SACH seeks to improve cardiac care for children from developing countries. About 50 percent of the children receiving medical care through SACH each year come from the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Iraq, and Morocco.