Three days before former pope John Paul II is to be canonized -- declared a saint, in a spectacular ceremony -- a horrific accident has taken the life of a pilgrim in Italy, 21-year-old Marco Gusmini. An enormous sculpture of Christ on the cross, weighing 1300 lbs., fell from 100 feet and crushed the man during a pre-canonization ceremony.
The weather in the area of Cevo, in northern Italy where the crucifix was located was fine, not windy. The statue simply fell.
The statue was apparently erected to commemorate a visit Pope John Paul II had made to the area years ago. The ceremony coming up this Sunday, officiated by current pope, Francis, and attended by Pope Emeritus, Benedict, is to "induct" John Paul II, as well as another pope, John XXIII, as saints.
The image of a crumbled Christ, face down with the cross on top of him, would have been sure to elicit all kinds of chatter. But the fact that it killed a man is so much worse.
And, of course, folks are coming unglued in several different ways about the entire thing. Some are pointing to it as a bad omen or sign.
Maybe god's trying to tell you something, eh? http://t.co/tJDss4YKcN Pope John Paul II statue crushes man to death at canonisation ceremony.
— Lt Gen Mark Newton (@NewtonMark) April 25, 2014
Some people who believe that the Catholic Church is abandoned by God since the Protestant Reformation see this as a signal from God that he wants no part of the Church's pageantry. They are particularly struck by the fact that this happened "three days" before the canonization ceremony.
Of course, gallows humor abounds.
What happens now, do they deduct a miracle? MT @LBCI_News_EN: Man killed by collapse of large wooden crucifix dedicated to John Paul II
— Alex Rowell (@disgraceofgod) April 25, 2014
"Yeah, they don't really make a 'sorry your dodgeball coach just got crushed by two tons of irony' Hallmark card." http://t.co/Xtg00Rt9Ne
— Zach Kotz (@ZachKotz) April 25, 2014
Image via YouTube