By Matias Grez, CNN
Updated 1055 GMT (1855 HKT) April 6, 2022
Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, holds a T-shirt showing Pope Francis as a superhero during a news conference to present a charitable initiative at the Vatican Feb. 8. The superhero image was first created as street art by Mauro Pallotta in 2014. The Vatican will auction off a T-shirt signed by sports celebrities, with proceeds going to charity. (CNS/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY — Though not as fast as a speeding bullet, “Superpope” will fly across the world, gathering autographs of sports stars and eventually being auctioned off to raise money for the pope’s charity.
The initiative kicked off Feb. 8 at a Vatican news conference with the unveiling of a simple medium-sized yellow T-shirt graced with the iconic “Superpope” image: Pope Francis, fist extended, flying through the air, holding his black bag packed with Christian “values” and a scarf representing his hometown San Lorenzo soccer team.
The first superstar who signed the tee was recently retired Roma soccer legend, Francesco Totti, who even added his old team number “10” to the signature.
Next in line for the shirt signing “relay” around the world will be soccer star Diego Maradona, followed by world champion motorcyclist Marc Marquez and many more, including top female athletes, said Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication.
The plan is to get as many famous signatures as possible before it goes on auction, possibly by “the end of the summer,” said Christian Fasulo, CEO of the Polk&Union agency, which is running the marketing campaign.
The first “Superpope” image went up on a backstreet near the Vatican on a cold night in January 2014.
While the angels were holding the four winds that they should not blow, giving opportunity for every one who had light to let it shine to the world, there have been influences among us to cry peace and safety. Many did not understand that we had not time or strength or influence to be lost through dilatory action. While men slept, Satan has been stealing a march upon us, working up the advantages given him to have things after his own order.
The Lord has revealed to us that the Laodicean message applies to the church at this time GCDB February 28, 1893, par. 6 – GCDB February 28, 1893, par. 7
The artist, Mauro Pallotta, who signs his work, “Maupal,” paints his removable street art onto paper that he then glues with a water-based adhesive to walls around Rome.
While most of his street art tends to stay up for years, the depiction of the pope drew an uncharacteristically quick response from the city’s “decorum” police, who showed up just two days later to inspect the infraction and then had it scraped off and repainted the next day.
But by then, media coverage and pictures of the image had gone viral.
Pallotta, a classically trained painter, put up another pope-themed piece near the Vatican in October 2016, this time depicting a clandestine graffiti game of tic-tac-toe. In the rendition, Francis has climbed a ladder to turn the O’s into peace signs and makes the win while a Swiss Guard peeks around the corner as the lookout. That piece only lasted half a day before the city’s waste collectors scraped it all off.
But once Pallotta got permission from the Vatican to use his “Superpope” image, the artist launched an #OrdinaryHeroes movement online in October 2017 with the help of a local entrepreneur.
The idea was to get people to share stories of ordinary people doing simple, positive and caring things, based on the belief that, “in order to change the world, we don’t need superheroes, but everyday heroes who spread the values of humility and solidarity, which Francis, the first of the #OrdinaryHeroes, perfectly embodies,” according to the superpope.it website.
Pallotta told reporters Feb. 8 that he was “enormously happy and proud” about the latest initiative and that the message behind his work was finally understood.
The superpope.it site sells T-shirts with the “Superpope” image for 19 euros (about $23) so people can show their support for the message and show solidarity with others since part of the profit (about one euro per shirt) goes to the papal Peter’s Pence charity.
Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.
As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.
The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.
Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away,” “the haughty people … do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:4, 5.
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated and upon grounds equally well established: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:17, 18. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a course toward God’s ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah.
The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.
Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God’s law, he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring God and bringing judgments upon the world.
God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God. GC 588.1 – GC 591.2 Adapted From The Book The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan by Ellen G White
(CNN)The shirt Diego Maradona wore during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England — the match in which he scored the ‘Hand of God’ and the ‘Goal of the Century’ — is estimated to fetch more than £4 million ($5.25 million) at auction.
The iconic blue jersey has been in the possession of former England midfielder Steve Hodge, who exchanged shirts with Maradona after Argentina’s 2-0 victory.
A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the real character of the papacy and would cause them to abhor and to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into the truth. Although priding themselves on their enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the whole world—those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here is the secret of its power.
A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favorable to the success of the papacy. It will yet be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is equally favorable for its success. In past ages, when men were without God’s word and without the knowledge of the truth, their eyes were blindfolded, and thousands were ensnared, not seeing the net spread for their feet. In this generation there are many whose eyes become dazzled by the glare of human speculations, “science falsely so called;” they discern not the net, and walk into it as readily as if blindfolded. God designed that man’s intellectual powers should be held as a gift from his Maker and should be employed in the service of truth and righteousness; but when pride and ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories above the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm than ignorance. Thus the false science of the present day, which undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as successful in preparing the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing forms, as did the withholding of knowledge in opening the way for its aggrandizement in the Dark Ages.
In the movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions and usages of the church the support of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World. And that which gives greater significance to this movement is the fact that the principal object contemplated is the enforcement of Sunday observance—a custom which originated with Rome, and which she claims as the sign of her authority. It is the spirit of the papacy—the spirit of conformity to worldly customs, the veneration for human traditions above the commandments of God—that is permeating the Protestant churches and leading them on to do the same work of Sunday exaltation which the papacy has done before them.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past. If he would know how papists and Protestants united will deal with those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit which Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders.
Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power were the steps by which the pagan festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine. (A.D. 321; see Appendix note for page 53.) This edict required townspeople to rest on “the venerable day of the sun,” but permitted countrymen to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity GC 572.2 – GC 574.1