25 December 2007

What the heck is this?

I just finished the fourth Christmas Mass, and I'm ready to get back to the rectory for lunch, but I just had to make mention of this rather different "nativity" scene in St. Peter's Square.

What the heck is that all about? And who are these nameless "Vatican officials" who are telling us that St. Matthew's Gospel says that Jesus was born in Joseph's house in Nazareth? I mean, just because he "took Mary into his own home" doesn't mean they didn't have to leave for that pesky census. And what's with the pub next door to the carpenter's shop? I don't remember that in Matthew's Gospel.

It may be my lack of intellectual depth, but the explanation by yet another nameless "Vatican official" that this scene reminds us that "Jesus was born in many places..." seems to me to be so much piffle.

Bottom line... I don't like it. But then again, they didn't ask for my opinion.
UPDATE: According to an art expert, Elizabeth Lev, this is supposed to be a depiction of Joseph's dream when the angel spoke to him about not being afraid to take Mary as his wife, and not a statement about where Christ was actually born. I'm not sure I get it, and it seems like the whole thing is little more than confusing.