Considerations on the Nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Square
At the center of Saint Peter’s Square, a metallic tensile structure dominates the scene, hastily decorated with a tubular light, underneath which stand, disturbing as totems, a few horrible statues that no one endowed with common sense would dare to identify with the characters of the Nativity. The solemn background of the Vatican Basilica only serves to augment the abyss between the harmonious Renaissance architecture and the indecorous parade of anthropomorphic bowling pins.
It matters little that these atrocious artifacts are the fruit of students of an obscure Abruzzo art institute: whoever dared to put together this affront to the Nativity did so in an era that, besides creating countless monstrosities of pseudo-art, did not know how to make anything beautiful or that merits to be preserved for posterity. Our museums and modern art galleries are overflowing with creations, installations, and provocations born from sick minds that straddle the Sixties and Seventies: paintings that are impossible to look at, sculptures that cause disgust, works of which it is impossible to determine either their subject or their significance. Nor were the churches spared: even they are overflowing with such works, always stemming from those unpropitious years, impudent contaminations produced by “artists” appreciated more for their ideological and political affiliation than for their talent.
For decades, architects and craftsmen have been making horrifying structures, furnishings, and sacred ornaments of such ugliness that they leave the simple disgusted and scandalize the faithful. From this same evil root there has also stemmed, in a Bergoglian migrationist key, the bronze barge that is the “monument to the unknown migrant” which now disturbs the harmony of the right side of Bernini’s colonnade and whose oppressive weight is making the very cobblestones sink, to the consternation of the Roman people.
It should be recalled that this year’s blasphemous Nativity scene was preceded by the equally sacrilegious one of 2017, offered to the Vatican by the shrine of Montevergine, a pilgrimage destination for the Italian homosexual and transgender community. This anti-nativity scene, “carefully planned and premeditated according to the dictates and doctrine of Pope Francis,” was supposed to depict alleged works of mercy: a naked man lying on the ground, a corpse with a dangling arm, the head of a prisoner, an archangel with a rainbow flower garland, and the cupola of Saint Peter’s shown in ruins.
Similar attempts, in which the Nativity is taken as a pretext to legitimize very unhappy experiments, have been the torment of many of the faithful, forced to endure the extravagances of the clergy and their craving for innovation at all costs, the deliberate will to profane – in the etymological sense of making secular – precisely that which is sacred, separate from the world, set apart for worship and veneration: “ecumenical” Nativity scenes containing improbable mosques, “immigrationist” Nativity scenes depicting the Holy Family on a raft, and even Nativity scenes made out of potatoes or scrap metal.
By now it is evident even to the most inexperienced that these are not attempts to update the Christmas scene, as the painters of the Renaissance or the 18th century did, dressing up the procession of the Magi with the costumes of the time. Rather, these are the arrogant imposition of blasphemy and sacrilege as an anti-theophany of ugliness, the necessary attribute of the Evil One.
It is no coincidence that the years in which this Nativity scene was created are the same ones in which the Second Vatican Council and the reformed Mass emerged: its aesthetic is the same, as are its inspiring principles, for those years marked the end of a world and marked the beginning of contemporary society, just as they witnessed the beginning of the eclipse of the Catholic Church which has given way to the conciliar church.
Fitting those huge ceramic artifacts into the kiln must have caused not a few problems, which the industrious teachers of the art school in Abruzzo overcame by breaking them into pieces. The same thing happened at the Council, where ingenious experts succeeded in forcing doctrinal and liturgical novelties into the documents that in other times would have been confined to the discussion of a clandestine little group of progressive theologians.
The result of that pseudo-artistic experiment is a horror that is all the more horrifying the more the claim is made that the subject represented is the Lord’s Nativity. To have decided to call such a collection of monstrous figures a “Nativity scene” does not make it one, nor does it correspond to the purpose for which such scenes are exposed in churches, piazzas, and homes; namely, to inspire the adoration of the faithful before the Mystery of the Incarnation. Just as having called Vatican II a “council” has not made its formulations less problematic and certainly has not confirmed the faithful in the Faith, nor increased the frequent reception of the Sacraments, much less converted crowds of pagans to the Word of Christ.
And just as the beauty of the Catholic Liturgy was replaced by a rite that excels only in squalor; just as the sublime harmony of Gregorian chant and sacred music was banned from our churches to make tribal rhythms and profane music resound within them; just as the universal perfection of the sacred language was swept away by the Babel of the vernacular languages; so the impulse of popular and ancient veneration devised by Saint Francis has been frustrated, in order to disfigure it in its simplicity and strip its soul away.
The instinctive repulsion that this Nativity scene arouses and the sacrilegious vein it reveals makes it a perfect symbol of the Bergoglian church, and perhaps precisely in this ostentation of brazen irreverence towards an age-old tradition that is so dear to the faithful and to little ones, it is possible to understand the state of the souls who have wanted it to be there, beneath the obelisk, as an act of defiance against both Heaven and the people of God: souls without Grace, without Faith, and without Charity.
Someone, in a vain attempt to find something Christian in those obscene ceramic statues, will repeat the error that was already made in allowing our churches to be gutted, our altars to be stripped, and the simple and crystalline integrity of doctrine to corrupted by the ambiguous muddledness that is typical of heretics.
Let’s just say it clearly: that thing is not a Nativity scene, because if it were, it would depict the sublime Mystery of the Incarnation and Birth of the Son of God secundum carnem, the adoring admiration of the shepherds and Magi, the infinite love of Mary Most Holy for the Divine Infant, and the amazement of creation and the Angels. In short, it would depict the state of our soul as it contemplates the fulfillment of prophecies, our enchantment at seeing the Son of God in the manger, our unworthiness for redemptive Mercy. Instead, one becomes aware of, significantly, contempt for popular piety, the rejection of a perennial model that recalls the eternal immutability of Divine Truth, and the insensibility of arid and dead souls before the Majesty of the Infant King and the bended knee of the Magi. One becomes aware of the bleak grayness of death, the dark asepticity of the machine, the darkness of damnation, and the jealous hatred of Herod who sees his own power threatened by the salvific Light of the Infant King.
Once again, we must be grateful to the Lord even in this trial, one that is apparently of lesser impact but still consistent with the greater tribulations we are undergoing, because it helps to remove the blindfolds from our eyes. This irreverent monstrosity is the mark of the universal religion of transhumanism hoped for by the New World Order; it is the expression of apostasy, immorality and vice – of ugliness erected as a model. And just like everything that is constructed by man’s hands without God’s blessing, indeed against Him, it is destined to perish, to disappear, and to crumble. And this will happen not because someone else will come to power who merely has different tastes and different sensibilities, but because Beauty is the necessary handmaid of Truth and Goodness, just as ugliness is the companion of lies and wickedness.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop