Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dial 1 for Angel

Apparently you can call an angel on the cellphone now. This story about the human impersonation of an angel in Holland provides insight into how religious icons are created and then sustained. First, you need an iconography (image, preferably a statue). Second, you need a name and a site (angel, cathedral, etc). Third, you need a method of activation (in the Middle Ages, touch is the way; in the 21st century, you call on a cell phone). Fourth, you need a public (lonely people in need, in this case). Once you have all these elements, the religious icon becomes fully operative - and that's when the Catholic church moves in to make a few bucks.