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"La Nona Ora": A sculpture of John Paul II

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La Nona OraIn 1999, Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan created this sculpture above, naming it "La Nona Ora" ("The Ninth Hour"). In 2004, it sold at Christie's for $2.7 million. Pope John Paul II is made of wax, and the meteor is volcanic rock.

Science and Religion News discusses some possible meanings of the sculpture. The meteor may represent the new militant atheism movement, or it might be the Kaaba stone at Mecca, showing Islam's ascendancy over Christianity. Cattelan himself raised the idea of an "upside-down miracle," in which a tragedy comes from the heavens and the Pope is saved by earthly forces.

I like to see it as a symbol of the physical illness that John Paul II suffered in the final years of his life.

What do you think of the sculpture? What might it stand for?

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