POPE FRANCIS has echoed the thoughts of many online users in snubbing the Vatican’s seasonal sci-fi Nativity scene.
The larger-than-life ceramic assembly of statues that includes an astronaut and a character reminiscent of Darth Vader from Star Wars has drawn criticism from many, who have expressed their distaste at the “experimental” approach taken by designers.
It has received unfavourable commentary in the Italian media and from visitors, many of whom took to the internet to express their puzzlement and bemusement.
This year’s nativity scene was made during the 60s and 70s in Castelli, a central Italian town renowned for ceramics. The astronaut represents the lunar landings of the period, according to a guide issued to visitors.
At his last official ceremony before Christmas, the Pope lamented the holy day that marks the birth of Jesus had been “kidnapped” by consumerism.
Speaking from his window overlooking the Vatican City’s iconic main square, Francis urged people to forget the church’s official nativity scene and instead visit an outdoor exhibit under the square’s traditional nativity scenes nearby.
They demonstrated “how people try to use art to show how Jesus was born,” adding that they “are a great religious education of our faith,” he said.
In his address, Francis also warned followers against the “frenetic” consumerism of the Christmas season, urging people to remember those who have nothing.
“Consumerism has kidnapped Christmas, (taking it) away from us,” he said. “There is no consumerism in the manger in Bethlehem. What is there is reality, poverty, and love.”
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