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Bureaucrats ban nativity scenes on Christmas cards

Lawmakers at the European Union have opted for neutral, non-faith images so as not to cause offense.

Bureaucrats ban nativity scenes on Christmas cards
Giacomo Galeazzi

December 26, 2012

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What’s happened to Christmas? After Halloween pumpkins replaced the crucifix, provoking strong criticisms from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the European Parliament’s decision to scrap Christian symbols and references from its Christmas greeting cards has caused further uproar. A part from the angel which appears on the six printed greeting card versions and the ten electronic ones, the Nativity, which is the core symbol of the Christian celebration is nowhere to be seen. “If this is the case, then bureaucrats and MPs should be turning up at work on December 25th,” said Lorenzo Fontana, Italian Northern League party representative in the European Parliament.

The European Parliament’s greeting cards also provoked complaints last year. Fontana himself presented a request to the President of the Assembly, Jerzy Buzek, asking for Christmas cards to include recognisable Christian symbols in the future. His request was rejected and this year’s cards feature stylised Christmas trees against psychedelic backgrounds and photoshopped images of the European Parliament. Those who criticise this as a new chapter in Strasbourg’s “anti-Christian crusade complain: “The design is dry, illuminated by cold blue and white flash lights which go completely against the whole idea of Christmas warmth.” Even the traditional “Merry Christmas” message has disappeared. All that appears in the cards is a neutral “2013”.

In addition to the negative reactions to the EU parliament’s Nativity-free greeting cards, there was also a lot of huffing and puffing over the futuristic Christmas tree erected in the Grand Place in Brussels. It is apparently so anti-Christian that is has triggered a series of online petitions and forums asking for the return of the traditional pine tree.

It is really a shame that the message contained in Europe’s motto “unity in diversity” are just empty words. Even at such a time of heart-felt sharing as Christmas, EU institutions have failed to show sensitivity to the feelings of its citizens, the vast majority of which are Christians. It almost seems as though this motto aims to make those who still feel strongly about the true religious meaning of Christmas, as different.

But it is not just in Brussels and Strasbourg that Christmas is under threat, lay anti-Christmas crusades are also being witnessed in other European countries. In one French school south of Paris, Father Christmas has been banned in order to show respect for the school’s beliefs and values. A puppet show has replaced Santa Klaus, a figure inspired by faithful’s veneration of Bishop St. Nicholas. In another school in Piacenza, Italy, references to religious topics in the institution’s Christmas celebrations are forbidden. Mgr. Adriano Vincenzi, a representative of the Italian Episcopal Conference in Confcooperative said: “It is commonly believed that giving up one’s own identity facilitates dialogue, but conserving one’s identity is essential for dialogue to take place.”

Full Story: EU Parliament’s Christmas greeting cards scrap Nativity for “neutral” images and messages

Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

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