Holy phone!

Holy pictures in wallets and even adorning car dashboards are common place, but on your mobile phone?

An Italian company has come up with an idea to make phones holy by downloading pictures of your favourite saint or even JPII.

However, Reuters reports the seemly saintly idea has been blasted by some Church leaders who think the venture is crass, commercial and in 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 was "horrifying" and a "distortion of sacred things".

But businees woman Barbara Labate, who thought of the idea, said she was simply filling a void in the market.

"We are merely catching up with the times. I think this will appeal to young people as well as grandmothers," Labate said.

"We are doing this with the maximum respect, dignity and professionalism for believers," she said.

The company started the service with 15 saints on offer and Labate said the hallowed catalogue will grow. Each picture costs $5 (3 euros).

One popular saint in Italy is St Christopher, the patron saint of safe travel. Other favourites are St Lucy, patroness of good eyesight and St Pio of Petralcina, the 20th century monk who was said to have had the wounds of Christ.

Saints on cellphones spark controversy in Italy
(Reuters, 04/12/07)

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