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With Father’s Day closing in, the question of what to get for Dad this year looms large. He’s got far too many ties, including a few (relics of Father’s Days past) that he wore once and will never, ever wear again. He’s got the original Star Wars trilogy (Widescreen Edition with Bonus Disc), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance , Rio Bravo , The Three Stooges Collection (Volumes 1–8), and Brideshead Revisited (25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) on DVD. He’s got an iPod, an iPhone, and an iPad.

What he doesn’t have is The Pope’s Cologne . Described as an “aristocratic, Old World cologne with surprising freshness,” with “notes of violet and citrus,” it is (according to the perfumer’s website) “made from the private formula of Pope Pius IX . . . obtained . . . from descendants of the commander of his Papal Guard.” So, if Dad is (as, in the words of the Vatican website, Blessed Pius IX was) “benevolent towards all but firm in his principles” and combines “firmness and understanding, fidelity and openness,” a flacon of this “historic fragrance” might be just the thing. Or not. If he’s anything like my Dad, his go-to after-shave splash is probably another, equally historic fragrance: Old Spice .

In any case, this Sunday, whatever you do, give Dad a hug, a phone call, and your prayers.

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