Cellular Saints

If you are a Catholic looking for a saint in heaven to protect you, you no longer have to carry a small "holy card." You can get the image sent to your cellphone.

A company in Italy started offering the service on Tuesday but ran into opposition from some Catholic Church leaders who think the idea is crass and commercial.

Many taxis, private cars and trucks in Italy have a small picture of a saint -- known as a "santino" or little saint -- taped to the dashboard. Millions of Italians also keep wrinkled and worn "santini" in their wallets or handbags.

The company started the service with 15 saints on offer and Labate said the hallowed catalogue will grow. The downloading service, done by sending a text message to a phone number, costs three euros ($4.42).

Nearly every shop near the Vatican sells paper "santini" but not everyone in the Church thinks cellphones and saints are a marriage made in heaven.

"This is in really bad taste," Bishop Lucio Soravito De Franceschi, a member of the Italian bishops conference committee for doctrinal matters, told the Turin newspaper La Stampa.
"It is a distortion of sacred things ... selling 'santini' for cell phones is horrifying," he said.

I'm not against visible reminders of those who have followed Christ. I am those who use the opportunity to follow the cash. I don't have a huge problem with it. It's a bit tacky but I've seen worse in the local Christian Book Store. I mean "testa-mints" come on!