A nude man at the Vatican

Wednesday, 20 December 2017
It’s O.K., this piece is nothing to do with you, Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, or you, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, so you can relax. No, it is about this year’s Vatican Nativity Scene, condemned by the notoriously pure-minded Facebook as being sexually provocative, because it contains the figure of a nude man.


Vatican creche

Probably the first nude man to appear on this blog.

It’s a very exciting creche this year, and manages to eliminate Mary, Joseph and Jesus almost entirely, giving preference to Works of Mercy. Some Works of Mercy are more natural than others: take Burying the Dead for example. (The part of the tableau that portrays Burying the Dead looks something like a scene from Dracula…) If my Great-auntie Moly expires behind the sofa after an overdose of gin, should I leave her there for a few years, or get her buried? (Actually, putting a match to her in the garden would be simplest, what with all that gin inside her…) It’s true that explaining in Confession that I still haven’t buried my great-aunt could be fairly awkward. But I digress.

At the Vatican Press Office, they keep their clothes on, no matter what Amoris Laetitiasays.

Although I thought initially that the nude man was Fr James Martin SJ, and that he was in the nativity scene to publish his latest theological idea – that Jesus was simply a disciple of John the Baptist – I may be wrong, since he (whoever he is) is apparently there to symbolize Clothing the Naked.

Terry Jones nude

A rejected design for the Vatican Nativity scene.

In the Eccles household, we don’t include scenes of explicit nudity, but we go for a traditional, rigid, interpretation of the scene. The only oddity is that we have one extra king, who is the wrong size, but he was given to us by a priest, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

creche with large king

We really don’t have the heart to sack him.

Let’s finish with a couple of Anglican nativity scenes from a collection assembled by Fergus Butler-Gallie.

tin man from Sheffield

Sheffield – the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, and his oddly-shaped tinned baby.

Teletubbies from St Alban's

St Alban’s – hand-knitted Teletubbies.

Correction: even on a blog intended for family reading, there have been scenes of nude men before. See this piece about the Atheists’ Nude Calendar and Richard Dawkins’s reluctance to participate…

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