LONDON (CNS) – A priest from the Diocese of East Anglia, England, has decided to replace a live Nativity scene for a replica of the wall encircling Bethlehem in protest of the Israeli separation barrier.
Each year hundreds of people come to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire to see the live sheep, a cow and donkey, and actors who occasionally have brought their newborn babies to play the role of Jesus for the Nativity scene.
But this year visitors will be staring up at an imposing gray replica of a portion of the wall built by the Israeli government in 2002 to keep Palestinian suicide bombers at bay.
Father Paul Maddison, the parish priest, made the decision to cancel because he wants to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people suffering as a result of the wall.
In place of the manger crib will be a grim assemblage, 24 feet high and 7 feet wide, of painted polystyrene stuffed with floor insulation materials. The wall will be flanked by protest banners and "stark photographs" to show how "desperate and ugly the situation is in the Holy Land," said a Dec. 11 statement by the priest.
Not to mention depriving Israelis the opportunity of being blown up by suicide bombers. Though I do understand why a good case can be made that the wall does more than just inconvenience some and will lead to a further reductions of Christians in Israel and other problems. The idea though of replacing a Nativity scene with a polystyrene wall is ridiculous. Symbolism over substance as if this will lend anything towards peace in the Holy Lands.
I also don’t understand why he went to so much work to create this instead of simply going to Wallmart.