Pope’s crucifix crushes student to death days before controversial canonization

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A young man was killed in the Italian village of Cevo near Brescia Thursday, when a giant crucifix of Pope John Paul II, fell on top of him.

The huge 98-foot high wooden and concrete cross, built in honor of the late Pope after he visited the Alpine village in 1998, fell on 21-year-old student Marco Gusmini, during a ceremony, crushing him to death. Another man who was injured in the freak accident had to be hospitalized, ITV News reported.
This tragedy comes only days before Sunday’s historic twin canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXII in St. Peter’s Square and the ceremony is not without its controversy.

While many agree that the late pope was destined for sainthood and think he deserves this noted recognition nine years after his death, some do not agree. Critics say only one pope, St. Anthony of Padua who was graced with sainthood one year after his death centuries ago in 1231—received the honor faster than John Paul II. …

Critics are accusing Pope Francis of rushing the ceremony to distract as well as lift the heavy child sexual abuse cloud shrouding the church. It may also be an attempt to infuse new faith by providing fresh icons for followers.

One such outspoken critic is Barbara Blaine, president of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who thinks the late pope’s inaction and slow response to victims of child sexual abuse by priests should prevent him from becoming a candidate for sainthood.

“John Paul II had the opportunity to stop violence and refused to do so,” Blaine reportedly told NBC News in St. Peter’s Square Friday. “He was more interested in the reputation of church officials than in the protection of children.”

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