The Vatican, last week, unveiled the 2020 Christmas crèche in St. Peter’s Square.
Historical tradition explains that St. Francis of Assisi was the first to promote the display of the birth of Our Lord. He believed that it would edify and improve prayerful worship of Jesus, the moment of His Nativity, and subsequent events.
For approximately 800 years the Christmas crèche has been portrayed in a respectful and accurate way. It combined different elements of the Nativity found in Sacred Scripture into one scene that conveys spiritual and historical truth to the viewer. Within the last fifty years people with specific agendas have changed that tradition.
I rarely use the first person pronoun in this blog. There are times that it must be done, this is one of them.
I believe that the Christmas crèche that was unveiled this past week, with the approval of certain high ranking Vatican authorities, is atrocious. The current crèche is presumed to be an example of modern Christian sacred art. It is not sacred art; it is secular art masquerading as sacred.
The purpose of sacred art (in both the Latin and Greek Rites of the Catholic Church, and the cultural Rites in union with Rome) is to edify and remind the viewer of the events surrounding the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Successful and reverent sacred art instructs and edifies the mind and soul of the viewer to those basic truths.
Christian sacred art does not confuse; it is not duplicitous. It is clear in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and the witness of His faithful followers. Sacred art personalizes the Truths of the Church. It accomplishes that goal by being beautiful, good, and truthful as well as being spiritually transcendent.
The sacred art of the Church does not demean its history, Scriptures, dogma, traditions, and visual or musical arts. It acts in the same way as photographs which are remembrances of loved ones, activities, friends, places, and personalities. The Roman Catholic, Greek and Russian Orthodox, and the twenty-six ethnic Rites in union with Rome, have never worshipped sacred images; we venerate them in the same way we remember our loved ones.
Christian sacred art snaps our attention back to the preeminent Lover and Loved One, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The writings of St. John of Damascus (Damascene, born 675 – died 749) were successfully used during the Second Council of Nicaea (787), to explain these points and to explode the errors of the iconoclasts then, and, today.
The 2020 Vatican Christmas Creche, in my opinion, falls significantly short of the mark. It is a complete and total failure. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so important.
Briefly, it portrays the Blessed Mother, in what resembles a sarcophagus, looking like a reincarnation of an Egyptian Queen. A huge angel appears to resemble something out of a bad dream (I cannot understand its large rib cage). There is an astronaut (or is it a deep sea diver)? Let us not forget the repulsive and weird looking thing, with a horned helmet, to the right of the astronaut/diver. Sheep resemble goats. Geese are running around in a frenzy of honking. The main characters all have oversized heads reminiscent of the dolls called Cabbage Patch Kids which were all the rage with my daughters and nieces over forty years ago (at least the dolls were cute). At night a single hideous crooked string of neon lights illuminate the figures. Instead of traditional and appropriate sacred music the viewer is subjected to a bizarre rendition of what appears to be a compilation of joyless ethnic music from a specific area of the world. There is more of this vapid artistic effort but this is enough to give you the scope of the travesty.
The 2020 Vatican Creche display is a very sad example of the misguided and ignorant intentions of those that approved it. It displays contempt for Scripture and Tradition and is an insult to all Christians. If the students who created it over a period of years wanted the public to see their final product then they should have displayed it on their campus not sacred ground.
If you are in Rome, do not take your children to see it – they will either collapse in laughter or run screaming from the Square.
You can view the clearest pictures of the monstrosity at the following site: https://novusordowatch.org/2020/12/mayday-vatican-nativity-scene-unveiled/
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