BRUSSELS, Belgium (LifeSiteNews) –European Parliament is displaying a nativity scene this year for the first time in its history after its former president deemed it could offend non-Christians.
Spanish Catholic Isabel Benjumea has aspired to install a creche at the Brussels-based headquarters since 2019, when she was elected Member of the European Parliament (MEP). It was not until this year that Benjumea had the support of Roberta Metsola, who was elected as president in January.
While Benjumea ran up against bureaucratic red tape and deadlines in 2019, the following year her request was denied by the Pffice of the President of the Parliament — at the time leftist David Sassoli — because the nativity scene was considered “potentially offensive.”
“Is it offensive to enter the Prado Museum and see the wonderful works of Fra Angelico, Caravaggio or Velázquez when they exhibit the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Kings, or the Nativity? Is it offensive to remind Europeans that on December 25 what is celebrated is the birth of Jesus of Nazareth?” Benjumea replied.
She further declared that European Parliament “cannot fall into the trap of considering it offensive to remember that what we celebrate at Christmas is the birth of Christianity,” or “the trap that the left constantly poses to us, wanting to feel offended by reaffirming something as simple as the historical legacy of Europe.”
Now, with the support of Metsola as well as Spanish People’s Party leader Dolors Montserrat, a nativity display from the workshop of the “prestigious” artisan Jesús Griñán from Murcia, Spain, has been installed at the Brussels location. It is being paid for not by the European Parliament but by the Spanish MEPs of the People’s Party.
The European Parliament considered in its decision the “great tradition of nativity scene craftsmanship in the Region,” which is “valued as a national and international reference for the quality and detail of its pieces,” according to Murcia Today.
The local Spanish outlet also reported that, according to sources, “the aim of the regional government is to maintain it in the future, as a consolidated tradition.”
However, according to Catholic News Agency, the nativity scene has only been “authorized as a special exhibition” that “may or may not be renewed in the future.”
Benjumea, a practicing Catholic, told Aleteia that for her, the nativity is “the most beautiful way to preach the Gospel. Putting up nativity scenes with beautiful images of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph is the best way to present the message to passers-by.”
She emphasized that Christianity is foundational to Europe, declaring of the continent, “Neither its history, nor its culture, nor its art can be understood without Christianity.”
“Without the Christian faith none of this would have existed,” said Benjumea, adding that “the freest, most tolerant and prosperous societies are societies with Christian roots.”
While Metsola’s support of the nativity is significant when contrasted with the decision of her predecessor, her public stances on fundamental Christian values, including basic human rights, have been mixed.
For example, as MEP, Metsola reportedly frequently voted against pro-abortion resolutions, but upon her election as president, she capitulated to its pro-abortion position. She told EuroNews regarding abortion, “The position of the parliament is unambiguous and unequivocal, and that is also my position.”