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Yesterday, Passport discussed North Korea's first beer commercial. Today it seems that in the face of economic downturn, many unexpected organizations are resorting to commercialism. Vatican Radio, the wide-reaching voice of the Roman Catholic Church, will begin hosting advertisements for increased revenue.

Until now Vatican Radio has been wholly funded by the Catholic Church at a cost of some $30m (£17m) a year.

But the Holy See's latest finances show that it too is suffering from the global economic downturn...

The station - like other organisations - has recently been looking for outside financial help.

That has now come in the form of Enel. Its commercials are likely to be in keeping with the measured conservative tone of the station.

In return, Vatican Radio could receive some $250,000 (£155,000) over the next six months.

While it is true that profits from these advertisements will contribute to making up a deficit in the Church's finances, the announcement comes at a bit of an awkward time. Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the current capitalist system in a 144-page encyclical entitled "Charity in Truth," calling for a new financial order driven by ethics.

Enel, the Italian gas and electric company, stated that it "has some of the shared values of the Catholic Church"--one of which, apparently, is a large customer base.

AFP/Getty Images 

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