The economy in Brazil for many years was the shining beacon of the Americas. For a time it was the envy of some in the U.S. Now an ongoing recession is forcing the Catholic Church to ask for help with refurbishing the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
The iconic statue, standing 98 feet tall atop the 2,328 feet-high Corcovado Mountain, was officially unveiled in 1931 after five years of construction. It was built to celebrate Brazil’s 100 years of independence from Portugal… or, depending on whom you believe, to counteract the increasing godlessness in the country. Whatever the reason for its presence, it has suffered the effects of weather, including lightning. A major renovation is planned. The last refurbishment was done after major vandalism in 2010.
The Catholic Church is responsible for maintenance of the landmark. They are planning a special fundraiser called Friends of Christ the Redeemer to generate the needed cash. Orani João Tempesta, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, pleads,
“If you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower. If you go to New York, you visit the Statue of Liberty. For the past 85 years the monument has been maintained with the help of private donations and the Catholic Church’s own resources. But unfortunately, with the economic crisis in Brazil, we need to appeal for more contributions to make ends meet.”