Penitence for the bad amongst us


Messina: Pulling the float for the Virgin Mary during La

Messina: Pulling the float for the Virgin Mary during La Vara, August 2013.  Image Credit.

Italy has been in the news quite often for the goings on of its rather colourful politicians. One noteworthy proponent being Silvio Berlusconi. He conjures in ones mind the perfect example of what the Mafia stood for. Political player, entrepreneur and above all else a person who felt he or she stood above the law.

Berlusconi is such an individual. For years he has done all of the above. With his media empire he has manipulated the opinions of the Italian electorate and has managed to stay in power even though he has spent a fair amount of time in court defending himself against a bunch of suspected crimes such as soliciting sex with minors, bribery of civil servants, accounting fraud and more. Above the law. And in fact when it came to the push, even changing the law so that he could escape conviction.

Just like Al Capone, famous Mafia godfather in the USA, he was finally caught on tax evasion charges in 2012. And yet he remained in government. Ignoring all against him. It was only during the last week that he has been forced out. And it seems he is finally offering penitence in the form of community service.

An image on Spiegel caught my eye during the past few days. An image of penitent sinners pulling a float holding the Virgin Mary taking place in Messina during August 2013. It seems the most penitent people are also sometimes the most corrupt. Apparently the people pulling the heavy float (physically) are doing this to be forgiven for their sins. Anybody see Berlusconi there?

Unlike Berlusconi the new mayor of Messina is a barefooted, anti corruption teacher who is seriously fighting the evils of the Mafia in his part of Sicily, historically considered the birth place of the Mafia. One wonders how long he will survive.

Makes me think of the various processions held in Marbella, Spain. Virgins of various names and functions get pulled around as statues or floated in the sea. And the cities governing officials from a few years ago have just been handed long term prison sentences for corruption. A cool €24 billion fraud. Wonder how many of the crew being marched into prison have pulled the Virgin Mary’s float here.

Is there any correlation between penitent Virgin Mary float carriers and the level of corruption practiced by the individual. Probably not…