Saints by phone service condemned by VaticanHmmmm... Well, the first thing is to note that 'The Vatican' and 'The Roman Catholic Church' are not synonyms. If a reporter says 'The Vatican' said or did something, it should mean that one of the Curial Offices in Rome or one of the Pope's senior curial assistants has formally/officially acted in some capacity. It should not, as happens so frequently, be used with reference to an unofficial comment of a Vatican bureaucrat or a teacher in a Pontifical University, as I've seen in the press previously.
An Italian company that is sending virtual prayer cards to the mobile phones of the faithful was accused of blasphemy yesterday by the Roman Catholic Church.
For three euros (£2) a week, subscribers will be able to receive up to three images of saints and great figures of the Church, including Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio and the Virgin Mary when the service starts today.Hmmmm... a little tacky... but there's plenty of tack to be seen in Rome's souvenir shops.
But the Italian bishops' conference last night accused McKay & Sisters, a Milan-based communications company, of offending Catholics by "exploiting" their faith. "This is a poor show and has nothing to do with faith," said Bishop Lucio Soravito De Franceschi, a spokesman on doctrinal matters. "It is exploiting the faith, lowering it to banality with no sense. It is a blasphemous idea that will horrify the true faithful.
"For the Church a saint is someone of great heroic virtue, not someone to be commercially exploited."
Okay... how does a spokesman of the Italian Episcopal Conference represent the Vatican?
Barbara Labate, a director of the company, dismissed the Church's response. "I had the idea from my mother who always puts a prayer card in her bag before travelling," she said.
"I don't think it is scandalous or blasphemous at all. We have had saint and prayer cards for more than 600 years and we will always continue to have them.
"What we are doing is moving with the times," she added.