This is an excerpt from Please Like Me, BuzzFeed News’ newsletter about influencers and internet culture. You can sign up here. In our column, Niche Drama, we discuss online community micro dramas.
The yassification of Catholicism is well under way, and now it has officially spread to Depop, a trendy thrifting app.
A seller went viral on Twitter on Sept. 19 for offering $5 “Catholic confession readings” to “coquette angelic girls.” They deleted their account before BuzzFeed News could reach out for comment, but screenshots on Twitter and Reddit dating back to Aug. 16 remain.
The listing is a rich tapestry of religion and internet-brained buzzwords. The seller, who says they are a private Catholic school student confirmed and baptized in a Roman Catholic church, promises to perform all penances kneeled at a “holy table.” They also tagged words like “bimbo core,” “bambi,” and “lolita” to attract people drawn to the aesthetics of youthful femininity.
“i thought this was an app to buy other people’s used sweatshirts,” one Twitter user wrote. “And absolution for your immortal soul,” the post’s original tweeter responded.
“There are at least two or three things that are cause for immediate excommunication here,” one critic wrote. Another called on Martin Luther to start a new Reformation. Others admired the hustle.
Offering amateur absolution over the internet is not a trend, but reclaiming Catholic imagery for aesthetic purposes is gaining popularity. The Met Gala challenged celebrities to channel Catholic fashion inspiration in 2018. Vox declared Catholicism to be an “alt status symbol” ripe for memeing in June. Part of the appeal in the religion’s imagery, per i-D, is that Catholicism has no overt racial ties. In a controversial op-ed, the New York Times credited the appeal of a brief Catholic “LARP” to Dimes Square, a small enclave of Manhattanites whose power gets regularly debated.
The discourse sparked by the viral Depop listing is indicative of all Catholic drama — there’s beef between Catholics, people who appreciate the religion’s aesthetics, and those who dislike the whole institution. The arguments about what’s sincere, what’s respectful, and what’s problematic about people reclaiming one of the most powerful religions of all time probably won’t make any significant advancement in the comments of a Depop listing.
The monetization of Catholic guilt is nothing new — this innovator just made it a little more “dasha nekrasova red scare podcast catholic girl trad wife aesthetic fawn bambi coquette Russian bimbo core Slavic girl” than before.