Pope Francis disapproved of the 2020 Saint Peter's Square nativity scene and further decried Christmas consumerism.
Pope Francis expressed his disapproval of the nativity scene indirectly and encouraged visitors to head towards an outdoor exhibit instead. On his address on Dec. 20 from the window overlooking Saint Peter's Square, the Pope also voiced out how people should watch out for what he calls "Christmas consumerism."
Days after the nativity scene of 2020 at Saint Peter's Square unveiled and received scornful reviews, the public watched how Pope Francis would respond to the figure. However, the pontiff did not give direct reactions nor commented on the talked-about nativity scene, and instead reminded people of the very important issues about the Christmas of 2020.
Pope Francis urged visitors to go back to the real meaning of why people celebrate Christmas. He warned them that the season that is supposed to remind them of the birth of Jesus has been kidnapped by a different motive.
"Consumerism has kidnapped Christmas, (taking it) away from us," the Pope said. "There is no consumerism in the manger in Bethlehem. What is there in reality, poverty, and love," he added.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are signs of hope, especially in this difficult time. Let us be sure we do not stop at the sign, but get to the meaning, that is, to Jesus, to the love of God that He revealed to us, the infinite goodness that he made shine on the world.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) December 19, 2020
A few weeks ago, Pope Francis released a statement and encouraged the people to go back and recall the true meaning of Christmas. He also encouraged everyone to remind themselves that the holiday season should provide hope for all in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. He reminded the public that the season is about the birth of Christ and giving help to the neediest.
"Instead of complaining in these difficult times about what the pandemic prevents us from doing, let us do something for someone who has less," the Pope explained. "Not the umpteenth gift for ourselves and our friends, but for a person in need whom no-one thinks of!" he added.
Throughout his entire message, the Pope did not mention nor show any signs of reaction about the 2020 nativity scene that continued to earn public criticism since its launch. Yet he directed the people to check out 100 small traditional nativity scenes under the Saint Peter Square's colonnade and see how beautifully they were made.
The Pope described the exhibit as a demonstration of "how people try to use art to show how Jesus was born (and) ... are a great religious education of our faith," according to Breitbart.
On Dec. 11, the public witnessed the unveiling of this year's nativity scene. However, the figure turned out to be beyond the traditional Vatican representation that signifies a manger.
The 2020 Vatican nativity scene came from the students and teachers in Castelli, an Italian town famous for ceramics. The figure was made between 1965 and 1975 and visitors described the theme to represent the lunar landings between the late 1960s until the early 1970s.
The ceramic pieces are larger than life and included an astronaut and characters similar to those of "Star Wars." Some even compared the pieces to toys and car parts.
Historians went to social media to express their disappointment over the highly awaited Vatican exhibit. Some described it as an offense to religious reverence while others say it misrepresented the real essence of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, Fox News reported.