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'Joseph' and 'Mary' talking to a shopper inside Thistles Centre.Sancta Familia Media / YouTube

STIRLING, Scotland, December 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A shopping mall in Scotland has overturned its ban on displaying a Christmas nativity scene after Christians protested the decision by staging a living nativity, right within the mall. 

Thistles Centre in Stirling released a statement today saying that they had changed their minds and would allow a representative from the Legion of Mary to set up a nativity scene as part of their Christmas decor.  

“We’ve listened carefully to everyone who contacted us about the installation and have decided to reverse our original decision,” it said.

“We have offered Mrs Patterson the opportunity to host a nativity scene at the centre this Sunday in line with her original request and we are delighted that she has accepted,” it continued.

Thistles Centre’s decision not to permit the display on the grounds that it “prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral” made national headlines and was covered on LifeSiteNews. 


Both the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and the Church of Scotland had voiced disappointment at the mall’s “Grinch-like” decision. 

On Monday, Scottish Catholics John Mallon and Elena Feick protested actively by visiting the mall dressed as St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mallon chatted with shoppers and discussed the “crib controversy” with them. A video of the dynamic duo “looking for a place at the inn” has been viewed thousands of times on social media. 

John Mallon is delighted by Thistles’ change of heart. 

“It’s a Christmas miracle,” he told LifeSiteNews via social media. “What great news! The real reason for the season!”

Mallon has a message for Scottish readers, too. 

“If you are shopping in Thistles Shopping centre this Advent, why not pay a visit to the Crib and share your picture with us to spread the peace and joy of the Christmas season to all, “ he suggested. 

Mallon is an administrator of Glasgow’s Holy Family Roman Catholic Church Facebook page. 

The Scotsman has reported that the Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh has likewise expressed great satisfaction that Thistles Centre has responded with “generosity and inclusivity” to Christians. 

“The management of the Thistles Centre, along with owners Standard Life Investments, are to be commended and congratulated for listening to the general public and responding with such generosity and inclusivity, recognising that contemporary Scotland should be a place that both respects and upholds religious liberty in the public square,” an archdiocesan spokesman said.

“We wish the management, staff and shoppers at Thistles a very happy and very peaceful Christmas indeed.”

To thank Thistles Centre for reconsidering the nativity ban, please contact:

Thistles Shopping Centre
Goosecroft Road
Stirling, UK

Tel: +44 178 640-0055
Fax +44 178 646-5443
Email: [email protected]