The Cathedral of Turin has been criticised by some after putting facemasks on the Virgin Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and others in its annual nativity scene.
Augusta Montaruli, a member of the national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) and an MP for Turin, slammed the Christmas move by the Cathedral saying, “The decision to put masks on the characters of the nativity scene set up in the Cathedral of Turin lacks common sense.”
“I certainly agree with the caution and anti-contagion protection, necessary to overcome this difficult phase, but the nativity scene has the value of re-enactment, symbolically representing the birth of Jesus, and bringing back believers, to a particular atmosphere lived two thousand years ago,” Montraruli said.
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“That is the cornerstone of our immutable traditions even before the period of masks,” he added and went on to state that the nativity should remain as normal to free peoples minds from the current worries of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The move is not the first time a nativity scene has been used to send a message, some of which have been overtly political.
In 2017, the Italian town of Castenaso was criticised by emeritus bishop Bologna Ernesto Vecchi for setting up a nativity inside a dinghy in order to draw attention to migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Italy.
“The central core of a nativity scene calls for a child in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, and this must be respected,” Vecchi said.
Italian Bishop Decries Use of Migrant Dinghy in Nativity Scene https://t.co/qIXxpKkbTC
— Thomas D. Williams, PhD (@tdwilliamsrome) December 6, 2017
The year before, a parish priest in southern Italy went as far as dressing the Virgin Mary in an Islamic burqa and added refugees to the scene as well as a rainbow flag instead of the traditional star of Bethlehem.
Last year in the United States, a church in Massachusetts used its nativity scene to make a political statement about climate change, with some locals stating that the move was in “bad taste.”
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