Mexico City, Mexico: Weather patterns that destroyed the regional cocoa crop in Central America have created a significant chocolate shortage this Spring, and locals have seen an dramatic increase in mass attendance.
Coincidence? Sr. Maria Esperanza Garcia of Santa Clara Church thinks not.
"I know this through my own experience. When I slip in my trust of God, the first thing I do is try to drown my problems in chocolate rather than God. I'm depressed, and instead of praying or offering it up, I go and buy a chocolate bar. Without the candy bars for sale, I see it as the crutch that is is. And I go pray," she offered.
A local sociologist, Isabella Rodriguez of RBCU*--Ciudad de Mexico campus, decided to test this theory through a randomized double blind survey, asking members of the population under what conditions they ate chocolate, and what they do now without chocolate in the stores. Rodriguez found that 74% of participants responded they ate chocolate more when they were depressed, lonely, or craving meaning in their lives. 60% of these respondants said they were turning to meditation and prayer practices during the shortage. The other 15% began drinking more coffee.
RBCU colleague Fr. Josemaria Blanco, SJ, argued that the Church needed to see the importance of these findings. "First, people still crave meaning and relationship. Second, we need to preach to these people to help them recognize that God is the source of meaning and relationship, the immutable good, while chocolate is a mutable good. Third, we obviously need to send missionaries to Weight Watchers meetings."
The archdiocese could not be reached for comment.
*RBCU=Really Big Catholic University