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Thomas International Center
November 2005


Ralph McInerny


Dio C'è



For some years now one has found along the roads and highways of Italy the spray-painted message, Dio c.  This is true all over the peninsula as well as in Sicily and Sardinia. More often than not, the message is painted on an official highway sign, done hastily but legibly, and seemingly all by the same hand. The existence of God as graffito. I try to imagine him, driving north and south, east and west, spray can at the ready, periodically stopping to insist in paint that God exists.

Given the fact that there are more churches than traffic signs in Italy, that on its roads one constantly comes upon shrines, Madonnas, crosses, the American tourist wonders at the need for those sprayed reminders. It is easier to imagine some disgruntled atheist covering the countryside with Dio non c in protest against the countless religious reminders.

We live in a time when t-shirts bear assertions, where bumper stickers have legends displaying the political bent of the driver; there are even signs in car windows telling us that there is a baby aboard. At football games, blimps float overhead flashing messages at the crowd and from time to time a plane flies over trailing a banner on which some fellow proposes marriage to a young lady below. Perhaps this is the context in which we should regard that reiteration of Dio c in Italy and Christ is the Answer on American roads. They are a profession of faith appropriate to the age of advertising.


Ralph McInerny