Friday, September 02, 2016

Christ of the Andes: a post Olympian reflection on Rio's South American icon

Jim Davis, "Rio's Christ statue: Washington Post adds a delightful angle to the Olympics" (GetReligion, August 10, 2016). This is a very stimulating and uplifting post: worth reading. The statue was built to combat secularism in the 1920s, when Brazil was solidly Catholic. Even in 1970 92% identified as Catholic. Which gives special meaning to the need for renewed evangelization today, as St. John Paul II saw in his day (each generation is faced with the need to appropriate its faith for itself):
The Olympics in Rio have already thrilled millions with the gold medal performances of champs like Michael Phelps and the Final Five gymnastic team. But the Washington Post takes the occasion to look even higher: at the statue of Christ who stretches his arms out over the city.

This delightful newsfeature, by the Post's veteran religion writer Michelle Boorstein, captures several sides of what she calls "the most recognizable Christian image in Latin America": the history, the sheer size, and the many meanings behind it.

Yes, meanings, plural. As Boorstein says, "Christ the Redeemer" stands high in that class of national symbols standing for many things to many people. And yes, religious and spiritual elements are on her list.

Her story smoothly blends background, color, humor and informed sources....

[Hat tip to JM]