The Rome nativity scene is an astronaut-themed oddity. It’s more of a progressive statement that should fall in line with Pope Francis’s views.
The ceramic crèche was made by art students and teachers in the city of Castelli in 1965. Artnet calls it avant-garde, but it’s more like a distorted depiction that couldn’t begin to qualify as a nativity scene.
Two weeks before Christmas, the Vatican brought forth the annual display of its nativity scene. The tradition began in 1982.
“The Vatican wants the Nativity scene and Christmas tree this year to be a sign of hope against COVID-19,” Rome Reports relayed at the end of October. But since its December 11 unveiling, its message of comfort has been somewhat drowned out by a wave of reaction to the display’s unconventional nature, Artnet says.
Is it unconventional and a sign of hope?
The figures’ bodies are defined by simple cylinders, topped by spheres for the heads, with no limbs. There’s no traditional setting, no wooden manger, no straw on the ground, just a very minimalist empty space.
“It made me think of bowling pins with Baby Jesus as a ball,” one visitor told Reuters of the design.
Perhaps alluding to a landscape, a glowing light behind the figures makes it seem as though they’re being struck by lightning.
What attracts the most attention, however, is the figure who appears to be an astronaut, in a spacesuit, gripping the moon in his hands. There’s also a sinister-looking figure in a black helmet who many have compared—perhaps on account of the space theme—to Darth Vader from Star Wars.
What do you think?
Edmonton Sun thinks it’s reminiscent of Star Wars. Snopes shot that down, taking the comparison seriously.
Vatican 'Darth Vader' nativity scene gets earthly thumbs down https://t.co/mKwiikqneU
— Edmonton Sun (@Edmontonsun) December 16, 2020
People say even the Pope isn’t praising it, but we don’t believe that he dislikes it. If he did, it wouldn’t be there. It’s a perfect representation of who he is in our humble opinion.