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Reporting for a Smile

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 13, 2007

If any news reporter makes it his vocation to report good news, I haven’t met him. Still, occasional good news does catch the eye. I’ve seen four such items in the past week.

First, a giant statue of Jesus has been unveiled in Manado, Indonesia. The statue cost over a half-million dollars and stands 98 feet tall. It is eclipsed only by Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, which is 30 feet taller. The Indonesian statue is roughly 16 to 17 times larger than life.

Second, a museum of altar wines will open in Zvenigorod, Russia in August 2008. The collection of Russian Orthodox altar wines will go back to the 17th century. This is interesting after a fashion, but it does seem odd to have a museum for just looking at wine. Nonetheless, the link with the saving blood of Christ is clear, and that’s a good thing.

Third, and of somewhat more significance, is the fact that the Pope’s second encyclical, Spe Salvi, has now sold over one million copies. That’s pretty impressive considering it can be downloaded free of charge. There does seem to be a constantly growing interest in whatever modern popes write, and that too is a very good thing.

Last but not least, Mercedes has just given Pope Benedict a brand new G-class Mercedes-Benz, customized to meet Vatican needs. The company clearly hopes to replace the Volvo “popemobile” which Benedict has been using. Motives may be mixed, but within proper limits there is no harm in combining piety with advertising. It is also nice to know that auto-makers recognize the iconic power of Peter’s successor.

Oh, and press reports say that the new car has been painted a special, unique color named “Vaticanmystic”. If that doesn’t win a smile, can anything?

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