Cardinal Bertone Defends Nativity Scenes

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2007 ( The Nativity scene is a work of art that promotes fraternity and friendship, and should not be feared, says the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made these statements today when visiting the Nativity scene built by Rome’s street sweepers. He commented on recent controversies before Christmas over the presence of religious symbols in public places.

The cardinal said: “No one should fear the Nativity scene; it is a sign of fraternity, intimacy and friendship that harms no one.

“This year there were those who feared the Nativity scene, and it seems, did not want it in schools, cities or public places.”

Cardinal Bertone added that the scene “is a memento for those who believe and those who do not believe, an invitation to an intimacy of families and also to a positive relationship with God.”

The Nativity scene of Rome’s street sweepers, located near the Vatican and open year-round, was built in 1972.

He said of the work: “Every symbol is beautiful and it is also beautiful to recall, as the author of this Nativity scene does, the whole biblical history prior to the Lord’s birth, therefore, the whole of Jewish history.”

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