2020 Vatican nativity scene meets universal ridicule and scorn
VATICAN CITY, December 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican nativity scene, unveiled during an evening ceremony today in St. Peter’s Square, has been roundly ridiculed and scorned as a modernist insult to the Incarnation and the Holy Family.
“This year, more than ever, the staging of the traditional space dedicated to Christmas in St. Peter’s Square is meant to be a sign of hope and trust for the whole world,” a Vatican statement about the scene had promised earlier.
“It expresses the certainty that Jesus comes among his people to save and console them,” continued the Vatican statement, “an important message in this difficult time due to the COVID-19 health emergency.”
Despite the Vatican’s promise, the figures — all of which are contemporary ceramic interpretations of the normally familiar figures featured in the portrayal of the birth of Christ in a Bethlehem stable two thousand years ago — are virtually unrecognizable.
In the lead up to today’s official unveiling, leaked photos of the ceramic nativity figures invited statements of disbelief and disgust.
“So the Vatican presepe has been unveiled....turns out 2020 could get worse,” tweeted art historian Elizabeth Lev.
So the Vatican presepe has been unveiled....turns out 2020 could get worse... pic.twitter.com/xI2NMNn81r— Elizabeth Lev (@lizlevrome) December 11, 2020
“It has nothing uplifting or transcendent about it. After a year of ugliness, the least they could have done was offer some beauty,” continued Lev in a subsequent Tweet. “This is shapeless, unappealing and unworthy of the joy we are trying [to] muster after this difficult year.”
“And to think a few hundred yards away are Michelangelo masterpieces. What do you think he would say if he saw these?” wondered Larry Fitzpatrick.
and to think a few hundred yards away are Michelangelo masterpieces. What do you think he would say if he saw these?— Larry Fitzpatrick (@wealthbldr96) December 11, 2020
“Better than the homoerotic one from a few years ago,” wrote Joseph Sciambra, a chaste same-sex attracted man and Church commentator, referring to the Vatican’s 2017 nativity scene which was “sexually suggestive” and was praised by an LGBT activst group as an “important symbol of inclusion.” That scene included a naked man and a corpse.
Better than the homoerotic one from a few years ago. https://t.co/sRWcB73a0L— Joseph Sciambra @ The Sons of St. Joseph (@sonsofstjoseph) December 10, 2020
“No joke: This is the modernist Nativity scene they just installed in the occupied Vatican,” noted Fide Post, an independent Catholic media site. “Crazy how they manage to surpass themselves each year.”
No joke : This is the modernist Nativity scene they just installed in the occupied Vatican. Crazy how they manage to surpass themselves each year. pic.twitter.com/MtQvngqQ2c— Fide Post ���� (@fidepost) December 10, 2020
Comparisons with toddlers’ toys, aliens, deep sea divers, and even fireplugs have been endless.
“A sneak peek at the Vatican Nativity. Official unveiling tomorrow. Looks like some car parts, kid toys, and an astronaut,” wrote The Catholic Traveler yesterday.
A sneak peek at the Vatican Nativity. Official unveiling tomorrow. Looks like some car parts, kid toys, and an astronaut. pic.twitter.com/4ZeBkf1Huy— The Catholic Traveler (@MountainButorac) December 10, 2020
“Spaceman,” he observed, adding, “Spark plug angel and a kidnapped Baby Jesus.”
Spark plug angel and a kidnapped Baby Jesus pic.twitter.com/ve1DCW7mmn— The Catholic Traveler (@MountainButorac) December 10, 2020
“This year’s Vatican nativity scene is apparently based on Fisher-Price Little People, but they forgot the angry ginger kid,” said William Mahoney, PhD. “You’re welcome.”
This year's Vatican nativity scene is apparently based on Fischer-Price Little People, but they forgot the angry ginger kid.— William Mahoney, PhD ✝️ ���� (@WFEMahoney) December 10, 2020
You're welcome. pic.twitter.com/bdZtx8KACO
“I’m not Christian, and even I’M offended,” one Twitter user chimed in.
I'm not Christian, and even I'M offended.— DEATH'S GUINEA PIG 4.0 (Parler: DGP 4.0)���� (@DeathsGuineaPig) December 11, 2020
Popular Catholic commentator Taylor Marshall issued a one word declaration: “Disgusting.”
“I wonder how heavy those things are, and how hard it would be to toss them into the Tiber,” tweeted another user, suggesting that the figures deserve the same fate as the Pachamama statues during last year’s Amazon Synod.
I wonder how heavy those things are, and how hard it would be to toss them into the Tiber...— CldWrGrnt (@B4dKarm4) December 11, 2020
And one observer is already looking forward to next year’s Vatican nativity display. “Auditions start for the 2021 Vatican Nativity Scene,” chortled Eccles on Twitter, showing a scene from an old science fiction movie.
Auditions start for the 2021 Vatican Nativity Scene. pic.twitter.com/ULoOPGDCAF— Eccles (@BruvverEccles) December 10, 2020
According to a Vatican Press release, the nativity set was created over the course of several years during the 1960s until the 1970s by teachers and alumni of an art institute in the Abruzzo region.