The church’s nativity scene, which featured the two mothers of baby Jesus rather than the traditional Mary and Joseph figurines, has sparked the ire of Italy’s conservative Catholics and politicians.
Nativity scenes are popular in this majority-Catholic country, but they have become increasingly embroiled in culture wars as society has become more secular and multicultural in recent years.
The priest of the church of St. Peter and Paul in Capocastello di Mercogliano, a village in the province of Avellino about an hour’s drive east of Naples, defended the church’s depiction of Jesus’ birth.
“We wanted to show with this scene that family is no longer just traditional,” Father Vitaliano della Sala told Reuters.
“In our parishes, we welcome children from the new types of families that exist and are part of our society, children of separated and divorced people, homosexual couples, single people, young We’re seeing more and more mothers.”
Father della Sala, known in Italy for his sympathies with LGBT and left-wing causes, said his stance is in line with that of Pope Francis, who this week allowed priests to bless same-sex couples in a landmark ruling. talk.
But Sen. Maurizio Gaspari, from the co-ruling Forza Italia party, said the LGBT nursery “offends all those who have always had respect and devotion to the Holy Family.”
The Provita & Familia group called it “not only dangerous, but shameful and sacrilegious.”
Provita, who started an online petition asking Bishop Avellino to intervene, argued that the nativity scene goes against church teaching on the family and justifies same-sex parenting and surrogacy.
The petition has so far gathered more than 21,000 signatories.
Having a child through surrogacy is illegal in Italy, and parliament is debating a government-led bill that would also criminalize couples who go abroad and use surrogacy.
This week, senators from Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Italian Friars party proposed another bill that would prohibit school directors from suspending Catholic-themed activities such as Christmas plays or productions of Nativity scenes.
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