The Vatican's New Belen is "Absolutely Terrifying"
Every Christmas season, the Vatican puts up a life-size creche or belen (Nativity scene) in St. Peter’s Square. The scene attracts thousands of faithful who take selfies next to the sculptures.
This year, the Vatican decided to put up an unconventional creche. The abstract art seen as a form of cubist sculpture shocked Catholics, who noticed two figures which resemble an astronaut and Darth Vader crossed with Aquaman.
Vatican nativity scene gets earthly thumbs down: A futuristic ceramic crèche - which includes an astronaut and a character reminiscent of Darth Vader from Star Wars - has received so many terrible reviews https://t.co/0521Kegpq9 pic.twitter.com/KqUIAJvpBX— Reuters (@Reuters) December 15, 2020
Pope Francis blessed the scene on December 11. "The feast of the Nativity reminds us that Jesus is our peace, our joy, our strength, our comfort," said the Pope during the creche’s inauguration..
But people are not pleased with its appearance. Tim Stanley, resident historian of the Catholic Herald, described the scene “absolutely terrifying.”
This year’s #Vatican Nativity scene, revealed tonight, comes from a town in the Abruzzi region of Italy famous for its ceramics. Its creators say it’s meant to have a contemporary and unconventional look influenced by ancient Greek, Sumerian and Egyptian art. Photo: @dibanezgut pic.twitter.com/ozEeaQWJ6r— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) December 11, 2020
Twitter user Danny K commented, “That’s no Christmas star. That’s a space station.” Other tweets were more sarcastic than scathing. “Damn, how will the Church survive such a scandal?” wrote David Kent Caldwell.
Although many people found the nativity scene offensive, there were also some who were forgiving of the modern display.
“I like the oddity of it. However, it pretty much sums up 2020 in a glance,” wrote Road Tripper.
According to Vatican News, the official information portal of the Holy See, there is meaning behind the creche displayed this year.
"The life-size ceramic statues hold a cultural heritage not immediately visible to the eye, adding to the excitement and anticipation they bring as they recount the story of the birth of baby Jesus," Vatican News wrote on its Facebook page.
Whose cultural heritage are they talking about? We're not sure if astronauts and space villains were present during the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago, but the statement of the Vatican's mouthpiece sounds like an endorsement that aliens exist.