Away with the manger: Vatican’s nativity includes astronaut, Darth Vader

Away with the manger: Vatican’s nativity includes astronaut, Darth Vader
Scenes from this year's Vatican nativity (Image: YouTube screen grab via Daily Mail)

[Ed. – The pope likes to ‘surprise people’? Do tell.]

Especially in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic will rule out many people’s favorite Christmas traditions, they have a right to express their dislike of the decidedly untraditional Nativity scene on display in the center of St. Peter’s Square, said a priest who specializes in catechesis through art.

But it may be more edifying to try to understand it, said Msgr. Timothy Verdon, director of the office of sacred art for the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy, and director of the Florence cathedral’s museum.

First, he said, people need to recognize that dioceses ask the Vatican to feature their Nativity scenes, and the Vatican City governor’s office makes a choice from those offers many months in advance.

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“Pope Francis goes out of his way to surprise people, to get them to think, to go to a deeper, more mature understanding of their faith,” Msgr. Verdon told Catholic News Service. …

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