Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer Statue, and Central Minnesota

Restoration work on Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado mountain is finished. The statue is open for visitors, and was lit up with green and yellow lights for the Brazilian World Cup soccer team.

I did a little checking. The statue's 80 years old, possibly the best-known Christian statue in the world, and recently had 80 gallons of water removed from each of its arms. That was part of the restoration work. Leaks affecting the chapel in the base were fixed, too: and lightning protection installed.

(from Bruno Domingos: CNS photo, Reuters, via, used w/o permission)

Yes: the Christ the Redeemer statue is "officially" Catholic. As my source for that photo put it: "...The 125-foot-tall statue was erected in 1931 and is overseen by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro." (

What's Rio's Christ the Redeemer Statue Got to do With Central Minnesota?

Apart from being in the same hemisphere of Earth as Rio de Janeiro, central Minnesota doesn't seem to have much to do with that Brazilian port city. Except that Catholics live there, and Catholics live here.

That'd be enough to make me feel a neighborly interest in what's happening to a famous statue there. I'm interested in a famous landmark in Rio de Janeiro for many of the same reasons I'm interested in the raceway on the other side of the Interstate - and the statue of a pelican in Pelican Rapids.

But there's more going on. I've discussed my take on what the Catholic Church says about neighbors before. (June 18, 2010) A key question is "who is my neighbor?" When someone asked Jesus that question, my Lord replied with the story of the good Samaritan.

I don't think it's such a stretch to think that everybody is a neighbor.

Led to the Church - by Multiculturalism?!

I'm a convert to Catholicism.

Given my position on life issues, you might assume that I'm a hidebound reactionary conservative. Or a bleeding-heart liberal. I've written about this before. Basically, the Catholic Church is ancient, rooted in eternity and upheld by God. Our teachings are no more likely to fit into some transient cultural category, than my Lord is likely to be a dues-paying member of the local Kiwanis.

The millennia-spanning history of the Catholic Church appealed to me, along with its ancient traditions and rituals. (There's the 'hidebound conservative' again.) Ancient rites are nice - but that alone wouldn't have interested me all that much. There are other ancient traditions.

One of the important ideas that attracted me to the Catholic faith is, in another form, a pillar of the contemporary American liberal subculture: multiculturalism.

Still with me? I've written about this before, too:
"During my time in American academia, I learned and embraced the idea that there is no one 'right' culture, and that all other cultures were not 'wrong' - just different. The painful self-righteousness of 19th century England (and Europe in general, I gather) didn't, really, make sense then - and certainly doesn't now. This acceptance of what I think is the solid core of cultural relativism is one of the factors that led me to convert to Catholicism."
(April 3, 2010)
I've wondered if the proponents of multiculturalism realized that someone would read and hear what they had to say; embrace the idea; apply the principle of cultural relativism to their cultural preferences; and eventually convert to Catholicism.

It's getting late, and I've got some business to take care of tomorrow morning. Goodnight, and may God bless.

Sort-of-related posts:In the news:
A tip of the hat to catholicspirit, on Twitter, for the heads-up on the Christ the Redeemer statue reopening.


Brigid said...

Some sixties college professor is probably spinning in his grave right about now.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


Could be.

(Note for everyone else: The expression, 'to make someone turn or turn over in his grave' means to do something that would shock or distress that person if he or she were alive. I don't know how many groups, around the world, have that expression.)

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.