The statue, popularly known and referred to as Jesus de la Merced, is usually paraded through the streets of the capital ahead of yearly Easter celebrations in centuries-old traditions brought in by Spain, the country’s former colonist.
Statue of Jesus was almost promoted to the rank of a Guatemelan Army General
A statue of Jesus, apparently so beloved and adored, looked likely to get an unsolicited promotion to general in the Guatemalan army until the church and president stepped in, and thwarted the bizarre plan.
The local priest of the neighborhood church where the statue is kept, Orlando Aguilar, proudly announced at the mass held on Christmas Eve that as soon as the year rolled in, the statue would be promoted to the rank of general in the Guatemalan army. The date touted for the ‘installation’ was said to be as early as January 3.
Many in the local media, apparently excited by the news got rumors buzzing, and suggested that the honor was to be conferred ahead of the 300th anniversary of the blessing of the statue in 2017.
But the capital’s bishop, Archbishop Oscar Vian was up-in-arms, and would have none of it as he took to social media to declare:
“Brothers and sisters, as I have said and repeated many times, nobody consulted me about ascending Jesus de la Merced to the rank of general in the army.”
The decision to rank the beloved statue is not the first of its type as Jesus de la Merced had once been given a title in the Guatemalan army.
During devastating cholera outbreaks in the 1800s, former president Rafael Carrera (1854-1865) gave the statue the rank of army colonel, and it was marched around Guatemala in an effort to combat cholera.
However the incumbent President of the country, Alejandro Maldonado has no similar plans after he denied approval of the plan saying;
“As armed forces commander general, I have not sought to grant this symbolic rank to the religious symbol,” he said, bursting the bubble of people who might have been excited at the prospect of having ‘Jesus’ in their army.
The president went ahead to stress that he would never sign any approval of the sort unless Roman Catholic authorities had given their approval.
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