A statue of Jesus Christ in Guatemala, known as Jesús de la Merced, was denied a promotion to the rank of a general on Sunday, AFP reported. The parish priest of the church where the statue is kept had made the promise during a Christmas Eve mass. The statue was first promoted to the rank of army colonel in the 1800s during a devastating cholera outbreak. It was then marched around the country in a bid to combat the epidemic.
Guatemala City's bishop, however, was against the promotion to army general, saying no one consulted him about the ascension. The promotion was also not approved by President Alejandro Maldonado. “As armed forces commander general, I have not sought to grant this symbolic rank to the religious symbol,” he said, adding that he would not approve the move unless suggested to do so by Roman Catholic authorities.