The headline reads, "Jesus statue's promotion to army general vetoes by Guatemalan president"
A beloved statue of Jesus looked likely to get a promotion to general
in the Guatemalan army until the church and president stepped in.
The statue, known as Jesús de la Merced, is paraded through the
streets of the capital ahead of Easter in centuries-old traditions
brought in by former colonial power Spain.
Orlando Aguilar, the parish priest in the neighbourhood church where
the statue is kept, said in a Christmas Eve mass that on 3 January the
statue would be promoted to the rank of general in the Guatemalan army.
Local media took up the story and suggested the honour was to be
conferred ahead of the 300th anniversary of the blessing of the statue
But the capital’s bishop was up-in-arms.
“Brothers and sisters, as I have said and repeated many times, nobody
consulted me about ascending Jesús de la Merced to the rank of general
in the army,” Archbishop Oscar Vian said.
It would not have been the statue’s first military promotion. During
devastating cholera outbreaks in the 1800s, then-president Rafael
Carrera gave the statue the rank of army colonel and it was marched
around Guatemala in an effort to combat the epidemic.
President Alejandro Maldonado said that he had not approved the promotion to general of the statue.