Saturday, December 16, 2017

Naked Man Nativity Scene

Well, that's what many are calling the Vatican Nativity Scene shown below:
Click on for larger view
At first glance this scene does not even appear to be a Nativity Scene. If you look a bit more closely though, you can find the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the Three Wisemen, the Angel and the Star - but what of all the other "noise" around the scene? I have to agree with Patrick Madrid in his Tweet:
Who's in charge of designing/approving Vatican manger scenes? This year's naked-guy rendition is just bizarre. Jarring, discordant & chaotic, it's not even Baby Jesus-centered. Yes, the extra bits are meant to depict works of mercy, but why? They don't belong in a Nativity scene. 

Certainly the Season of Advent is a good time to practice Corporal Works of Mercy and we should incorporate these into our Advent penance - but the Nativity Scene should be centered on the Incarnation, the Baby Jesus. Traditionally, all the figures in the Nativity Scene - even the animals, are looking at the Baby Jesus -  in the Vatican Nativity Scene can you find ANY of the figures looking at the Baby Jesus? Not the Angel, not Joseph, not even the Blessed Virgin are looking upon the newborn Christ-child. See a traditional example below:

For those reading who may not know, or know all the Corporal Works of Mercy, here's a list:

So yes, there is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and the Corporal Works of Mercy are good to meditate upon, or more importantly DO, but to clutter up the Nativity scene with these other figures detracts from the Nativity. I can certainly see where it can be argued that one of the reasons Jesus came into the world was to not only preach, but DO Corporal Works of Mercy, but again there is a time and place for everything. What are your thoughts? Please share them below this article. Should the Nativity Scene be used to promote the Corporal Works of Mercy?


  1. Overall I think this is weird. I wouldn’t have thought of the corporal acts of mercy if I didn’t read this blog. I guess I’m more educated now.

  2. The first think I noticed was the focus was on the naked man. The work is, typically for this pontificate, a travesty. Paglia was no doubt a consultant.


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