Did you know that there was a campaign by some within the Catholic Church to declare coffee sinful in the late 1500s? Yes, it's true! If things had broken a different way, your morning cuppa could've been a no-no. We all have Pope Clement VIII to thank for keeping our caffeine fixes licit within the faith!
During Pope Clement VIII's pontificate, there was a group of his advisers that thought Catholics should not drink coffee. This was likely due to its (admittedly strong) effect on the body, mildly addictive properties, and production connection to Islam. This was during a period of great tension between Catholicism and Islam. These naysayers referred to coffee as "the devil's beverage."
Praise God, Pope Clement was a wise man. He refused to ban the beverage without trying it first. Reluctantly, they prepared a cup of coffee for him, which he subsequently drank. Struck by the pleasant taste and aroma, the Pope is said to have remarked, "This 'devil's beverage' is so delicious, it would be a shame to let Satan have it."
Not only did Pope Clement refuse to ban coffee, he actually went so far as to bless it! In fact, some historians refer to this particular blessing as a de facto "Baptism," as Clement was quite literally attempting to cleanse the coffee beans of any Satanic influence. Pretty crazy, right?
Once word spread of the Pope's love for the beverage, it exploded in popularity amongst Catholics the world over, and enjoys widespread consumption to this day. Let's all say a prayer of thanks that Pope Clement VIII gave us all our daily brew!