A naked man steals the show in the Vatican’s new nativity scene rendition

It seems that nudity is the innovative, new attention grabber in the Vatican’s newly-unveiled nativity scene rendition.

In an inauguration ceremony last December 7, the Vatican unveiled the official nativity scene in St. Peter’s square.  The nativity scene features 20 terracotta (clay/ceramic-based) figures, some as tall as 6 feet. What is striking about the new nativity scene is that instead of the traditional rendition where the focus is simply on the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this year’s version focuses more on the integration of the 7 “corporal works of mercy” into the scene.

Vatican Nativity Scene 2017
Close to 20 life-size images, including that of a naked man, drown out the traditional image of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the Vatican’s new nativity scene.

The scene includes life-size figures of a naked man being “clothed”, a dead man being buried, and a prisoner being visited.  The representation of the night of Jesus’ birth, Pope Francis said, is “inspired by the works of mercy” and is a reminder “that Jesus told us: ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you.’

Vatican Nativity Scene 2017 - Prisoner
Life-size rendition of a person visiting a prisoner.
Vatican Nativity Scene 2017 - Dead Man
Celebrating death instead of life – another attention-grabbing image is that of a person burying a dead man in the nativity scene.

A Naked Man Steals the Scene in the Nativity!

Most people’s eyes would probably be led first and attracted to the “unique” sight of a naked man prominently featured in the official nativity scene of the Vatican – set right at the forefront of the giant Christmas tree.

Vatican Nativity Scene 2017 - Naked Man
The naked man steals the show in the nativity scene!

Even Facebook Disapproves Of the Image of the Naked Man in the Nativity

Interestingly enough, even Facebook itself disapproves of the image of the naked man in the nativity scene. Our initial Facebook ad to promote this article was disapproved by Facebook with the following reason given: “Your ad can’t include images that are sexually suggestive or provocative.” The image we used for the ad was the exact image of the naked man in the nativity scene in the Vatican. Below is a screen shot of the disapproved ad due to the sexually suggestive image used:

Where is the Baby Jesus?

At first glance, it is quite hard to find the baby Jesus in the entire scene.  It is also quite a challenge to decipher which of the figures is St. Joseph. The Blessed Virgin Mary, usually portrayed in nativity scenes as carrying the baby Jesus, is set merely towards the side, and is not prominently displayed.

The sheer number of life-size figures on the set – much larger than the baby Jesus – will all but guarantee that people will have much difficulty in finding Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the entire scene.

The scene has been crafted, it seems, to shift focus principally on the “innovative” aspects of the new nativity rendition – the integration of images portraying the corporal works of mercy.  Serving fellow men – instead of worshipping the new-born Saviour – is the unmistakeable focus of the entire scene.

Negative Reactions to the “Hideous” Nativity Scene

The nativity scene has solicited a firestorm of mostly negative reactions on Twitter, with some calling it “hideous” and “extremely sacrilegious”.  Some have even called on fellow Catholics to pray a rosary of reparation after seeing the nativity scene. Here are some of the reactions to the nativity scene, after the images were first posted by the reporter Edward Pentin on Twitter:

Twitter Reactions to Vatican Nativity Scene 2017
Twitter reactions to the “sacrilegious” nativity scene have been mostly negative.

The Last Nativity Scene of Pope Benedict XVI

The new nativity scene promoted by Pope Francis is a stark contrast to the nativity scene of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 in what was to become his last Christmas celebration as Pope.  The 2012 nativity scene was traditional in its rendition, with the central focus clearly on Jesus, Mary and Joseph (see image below):

Vatican Nativity Scene 2012 St Peters
Pope Benedict XVI’s last nativity scene in the Vatican was more “traditional”, focusing on the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

“Happy Holidays”

Barack Obama Michelle Obama holiday card.bmpWe have seen all over the world a concerted effort to de-emphasize the birth of Jesus in Christmas, and to associate Christmas with “holidays” rather than Our Lord’s birthday.  Many world leaders, like previous U.S. President Barrack Obama, use the phrase “Happy Holidays” to greet others during Christmas, instead of the proper “Merry Christmas” which rightly focuses people on the “Christ” in Christmas.

The “secularisation of Christmas” has led to Christmas becoming associated more and more with holidays, vacations, gifts, Santa Claus, reindeers – everything except the birth of Jesus.  Children think of Christmas more as a wonderful time to receive materials gifts from Santa Claus – instead of a time to give their own little gifts to the forgotten birthday celebrant, Jesus Christ.

Let’s Bring Back the “Christ” in “Christmas”

Many will argue that there is nothing wrong with the new nativity scene, since it focuses on an important aspect of the Pope’s teaching: mercy and compassion for our fellow men, as manifested through the 7 corporal works of mercy.

However, the Vatican’s new nativity scene does not help at all in fighting the global secularisation of Christmas.  In fact, it aggravates the problem – instead of focusing on the birth of Our Lord, we focus instead on the needs of fellow man.

Christmas is not about celebrating prisoners and clothing a naked man – it is the birthday celebration of Jesus Christ.  May all of us help, in our own little way, to fight this “secularisation” and “humanisation” of Christmas.

49 Comments

  1. This scene looks like a mockery of the nativity. Even the star looks as though it is falling from the sky rather than illuminating the way to the Christ child. So sad.

  2. Those who have seen it are right in saying that the viewer’s attention is first drawn to the naked man (who is lying down, mind you!) It’s all about vectors. These are lines created which draw you eyes in a ‘path’ so that each element has a particular prominence and order of importance. It is used to greatly emphasize certain parts And in this scene the figures have been situated, framed by the giant tree, to draw attention to that naked man figure first. He is not even realistic!

    Homeless people or the destitute poor who cannot even clothe themselves are not going to look like a Greek Adonis, now are they?!! And why would he be lying down, fully exposed in that fashion if he was naked? He would be curled in a ball to keep himself warm. These are either wicked men or very stupid. It must be torture to serve Our Lord in the Vatican these days. Absolute torture. It’s like the cocaine fuelled homo-orgy that was barely reprimanded was not enough, so in response they organise another little dig at all traditional faithful prelates by putting in this naked man in this manner. I don’t know if they made the connection but whoever made the naked man figure was not portraying a beggar.

  3. What are they doing in our Church ???
    Of course everyone would first notice the naked man, which is actually very manly in the sight of people, We must focus on the birth of our savior, they are twisting everything to mislead people… 😭😭

  4. Well, it appears we have now entered the great apostasy! In case anyone is confused as to what you are seeing or the direction of the church Jesus said “you will know them by their fruits.” It’s a sad state of affairs when the only follow-up to a cocaine fueled orgie is a naked man in the nativity. Don’t expect much from this group, but remember that Gods church will be purified through the blood of the martyrs and what will remain will be smaller and loyal. God’s will be done!!

  5. Backpinging Polak, St. John didn’t write ἐν ἀρχῆς but ἐν ἀρχῇ, and if you don’t know what case to put after έν, you shouldn’t insist on editing borrowed Greek plumes.

  6. Too bad Facebook doesn’t clean up all the publicly available smut on their Instagram service. Yes, freely available posts, bordering on porn –For all children to see.

  7. The Sistine chapel is full of naked men flying around in heaven—many touching and two embracing. Even God’s large pasty white buttocks are prominently displayed! I lost count of naked saints and statues (all male) in the long corridors of the Vatican art museum.
    Some 19th c. pope threw some figleafs on the hoo-hoo’s thinking it would all be better. It’s no wonder the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Bishop Paglia) felt free to have an artist feature him in a homoerotic embrace in the mural above the altar of his church. Why would anyone bat an eye at a well built nude man at the Nativity?

    Leaving the Roman church for Eastern Orthodoxy. Have yet to discover a nude or suggestive icon.

    1. I can answer that, Kim. It’s the context (historical and cultural) which gives meaning to a artwork. In today’s context, they are not portraying the creation of man by God, who at first did not know shame at his nakedness, or the innocence of the angels. They are likewise not pointing to the miracle and beauty of the human form as the Classical Art Movement did. Not in this nude figure, which I think is suggestively posed and prominent in its build, a man that looks physically at his peak. It easily suggests this in its execution of form, but is also interpreted solely in this manner due to the context and culture of our times and our world.
      In our times, when would a figure like this one ever represent poverty and someone in dire need? Think of the images conjured of Third World Poverty.

      In addition, the nude man construct appears jarring, because of the grossly misfitting context in which it was placed; its meant to be a celebration of the birth of Our Redeemer! Love, innocence, hope fulfilled.

      As I pointed out before, this is not an emaciated, poor and cold man, weathered and/or beaten by the elements and the circumstances of life, now is it?

      The context matters because it creates meaning and elicits a specific response. You may not understand previous historical artistic intentions and periods but you know this period of time. This know what this means in “ours”

      Every choice an artist makes or someone who approves an artwork, are deliberate.

      1. Yes Donna I agree. Michaelangelo was as gay as Mardi Gras so it’s no wonder he chose to make parts of the Sistine look like a gay bathhouse with God and his naked butt in on the action as well. That the popes were all “ok” with that says a lot to me.

        The Roman church has been on a downhill slide since the schism of 1054. I’m done.

      2. The Roman Catholic Church has always the Truth and with it, will you find the fullness of faith and truth. Homosexuality is a mortal sin and intrinsically disordered. There are hypocrites in every church; don’t imagine perfection lies in any man except for Christ. We don’t follow a church because it ‘pleases us’ but because Our Lord commanded it. He founded the Church, yet the thieves come. This filth is not ours to solve. But we do have our role. Don’t imagine it won’t turn around. Our Lord is coming to separate the sheep from the goats. You need hope! Read the prophecies of the saints in regards to the end times. A booklet can be found here if you scroll down the home page here:
        RemnantDisciples.wordpress.com

  8. This was predicted in the prophecies given to Maria Divine Mercy prophet – in one of the messages Jesus said: “Every gesture, subtle though it may be, will be designed to insult Me, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. The deceiver, through his servants, cannot resist mocking Me, for he hates Me. He will insult every vessel in My Church through actions, words and the addition of Satanic symbols. Only those who know the Truth will see these abominations and understand exactly what such gestures really mean.” Read whole prophecy here https://fatherofloveandmercy.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/every-new-law-soon-to-be-introduced-by-enemies-within-my-church-will-mock-the-truth-laid-down-by-my-father/

    1. Another thing I noticed this morning. On the left side wall of the clearly “crumbling” church is an icon of the Blessed Virgin; I think possibly Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. But it is on a very cracked wall as if to symbolise it’s all about to fall apart.
      I wonder what a close up of this representation of the icon would reveal? I hope they have not distorted this also.

      1. That image is the Madonna of Montevergine, an icon that has been taken over by the LGBT lobby in Italy. In fact LGBT community march in pilgrimage to the Sanctuary every year in a sort of gay parade. This is pure sodomite mockery.

      2. Wow! Thank you! That sheds even more light and confirms what I suspected. I was not able to zoom in on the scene much and I would not have known that. Thank you, GKCH!

  9. Our lord has been put on notice a lng time ago. We do not need him and we do not want him. We have social securiy, we have health insurence, we have
    welfare, our company has frequent boerd meetings. Everyting is perfectly
    under control. Since we have our liberal democracies, who cares about a stupid nativity scene anyway. If they do put someone in a maneger scene, i
    think it should be a lifesize model of bergolio. What could possibly surprize us
    anymore? Whenever you see the star of bethlahem shining over a department store, then you know baby jesus is close by.

  10. Negative comments on Nativity Scene is a sign of HYPOCRISY. It depicts these world’s REALITY:

    NAKEDNESS, which is spiritual, devoid in listening God’s WORD and doing His will

    BURYING DEAD, by the millions, caused by abortions, euthanasia, terrorism, etc.;

    IMPRISONMENT, humans are no longer free to creatively, innovatively create because of techonogical advancement. Humans are mere robots because of this.

    JESUS IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND BECAUSE HUMANITY HAVE LOST GOD’S PRESENCE IN THEIR LIVES…

  11. When we say Merry Christmas to mean–A Savior is born unto you, for you to be reborn in the Savior,
    Reborn in Jesus, through Mary,by the Holy Spirit unto the FATHER.
    In the same WAY that Jesus himself was born off the Father.
    Reveals the Biblical truth of Born Again in Water & In Spirit.
    The Catholic rather Christian truth to the Redemption & Subsequent Salvation.

    Negating this truth is to see PROTESTANT America sunk in SODOM, the very Marker. unto the Prophecy of SODOM & EGYPT, against the warning of Jesus “Remember Lots wife” not just to sodom but complacency towards it, for a complacent one is already a sodomite reserved for condemnation. the state that America is in today, through rejecting the very Antidote against sexual corruptions, the core of which is SODOM, all that stands against the basic order of the Family, in turn based on the First Holy Family of God, off the Enmity put by God between the serpent(the harbinger of sodom) & the woman by their seed.

    Disregarding this integral truth is but to fall into the condemnation, prophesied by the very spirit of Prophecy, a Lo greater than Jonah, even the Queen of the south that shall rise up in spirit(refer proverbs8)with this wicked generation & condemn it, a Lo greater than Solomon.

    1. Yes! I thought that was bizarre too. I wondered why you’d have historical figures from a different period. It only makes sense to have figures from Christ’s time or from ours. I don’t know why they did that. It felt wrong and I wondered whether it was to try to show that the celebration or ideas were from a past era. Even the man burying the dead. Clearly horrified as if the other had the plague;- what place has that? There was no suggestion of burial rites or sign of faith and hope, such as a Crucifix nearby. It was disturbing.
      What do you make of it Michael?

  12. Merry Christmas! There is more than meets your eyes in this Nativity scene. It was designed by a local Maltese artist named Manwel Gretch. The 17+Maltese characters wear “Maltese clothing and are holding instruments and tools” Pope Francis, in an interview to NCR said that there was present in the scene “a reference to the cross of Malta” I searched for this in the clothing and gave up. Then it hit me. The star! The golden melting star! The cross of Malta has 8 points, as does Pope Francis’ star. The boat represents the Maltese tradition of fishing and also immigrants. I can’t put it all here but I wrote it up on my wordpress site: http://maryanne84.wordpress.com

  13. Today the working of Catholic Church (Church of Thyatira in revelation) is to be understood in terms of two Catholic Prophecies.
    1) The Prophecy of St. Francis of Assisi, at his death bed.
    2) The Prophecy of St. Malachy , to the Pope’s.
    Understanding of these two prophecies in turn relates to various Biblical prophecies.
    Like for eg. St. Pope Pius X warned against Modernism , specifying it as Evolution, which Biblically is to the Prophecy of Daniel : “He will not regard the god of his Father’s, but in his own estate worship a strange god, a god of forces ” whIch revelation is explained elsewhere in Veritas —-. amounts to EVOLUTION as worship, all that stands agaInst the FAITH, to the
    said Saint’s warning of the error of Modernism. in short mounting “Against the Faith”

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