- This is terrible April 25
There's nothing funny about this story: 21-year-old Marco Gusmini was killed on Thursday afternoon near Cevo, Italy, when a giant crucifix sculpture fell over and crushed him. The local tragedy is only international news because the 100-foot-tall cross, with 20-foot statue of Jesus affixed, was dedicated to Pope John Paul II, who will be canonized on Sunday along with one of his two papal namesakes, Pope John XXIII. According to La Repubblica, Gusmini had resided on Via Giovanni XXIII — John XXIII Street — in the nearby town of Lovere.
There are those, of course, who will see this as an ill omen — as Michael Brendan Dougherty noted Thursday, John Paul II's imminent sainthood isn't without controversy, both because it comes so soon after his death and because the charismatic Polish pope failed to address the sex abuse of children by Catholic clergy that happened or came to light under his long watch. And Good Pope John is credited with only one miracle, when you generally need two for canonization.
But portent or not, the curved sculpture — designed by Enrico Job to celebrate the pope's 1998 visit to Brescia, held up by steel cables — did sort of look like an accident waiting to happen:
I'm going to come down on the not-omen side. But even if this is somehow John Paul II's fault, metaphysically speaking, it won't affect Sunday's canonization: Sainthood doesn't work on an addition/subtraction scale. He is credited with posthumously saving two lives; he wouldn't have one miracle taken away because of some frayed cables, bad timing, and a 1,300-pound statue of Cristo Redentore — Christ the Redeemer.- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Why the government should pay every American child an allowance
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Everything you need to know about the voter ID controversy
Subscribe to the Week