|Vatican austerity means donated nativity scene |
A 24-meter (78 feet) Christmas tree is placed in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The tree is a gift from the community of Pescopennataro, in the Italian region of Molise, and will be lit during a ceremony on Dec. 14. In the background at left is St. Peter's Basilica and at right the Apostolic Palace. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino.
By: Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP).- The Vatican has happily accepted a donated Nativity scene for St. Peter's Square this Christmas after a previous setup costing 550,000 ($717,000) was exposed by the embarrassing scandal over leaked Vatican documents.
Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, the No. 2 administrator of the Vatican city state, told reporters Thursday that the Vatican was spending just 21,800 for labor and costs to mount the scene that will be unveiled Dec. 24, hours before Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Midnight Mass. The Italian region of Basilicata one of Italy's poorest provided the scene after raising nearly 90,000 from corporate and other sponsors.
Basilicata regional officials and their sponsors were rewarded with a full-court Vatican press conference Thursday where the head of the Vatican Museums extolled the natural marvels of the southern region, urging tourists to visit, and Sciacca thanked Basilicata for its generosity in tough economic times.
One of the most damaging documents leaked during the so-called Vatileaks scandal was a letter from Sciacca's predecessor complaining that the Vatican was losing millions of euros on corruption and unnecessary expenses such as the 2009 Nativity scene which cost 550,000.
The predecessor, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, boasted in an April 4, 2011 letter to Benedict that he had trimmed the cost for the 2010 edition to a mere 300,000. He was subsequently named the Vatican's ambassador to Washington, a move he saw as punishment for having stepped on too many toes in his cost-cutting initiatives.
Sciacca said that by accepting a donated scene this year, the Vatican was saving some 180,000 over the 2011 edition and said he already had an offer for 2013.
He denied the Vatican's enthusiasm for donated scenes was a response to the Vigano letters, saying it was merely "good sense" to take something that is donated rather than spend money on it.
"I hope there are other offers," he said.
Vigano's letters were the first of many documents from the pope's desk that were leaked to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi by Benedict's former butler, Paolo Gabriele. The scandal convulsed the Vatican for months, damaged its confidential relations with bishops and led to an unprecedented multi-pronged investigation.
Gabriele was arrested in May, convicted by a Vatican court in October of aggravated theft and is serving an 18-month prison sentence in a room in the Vatican police barracks. An expected papal pardon hasn't yet materialized.
Gabriele told Vatican investigators that he leaked the documents because he wanted to expose the "evil and corruption" in the church in hopes of putting it back on the right track.
Some may be surprised that the Vatican is mounting a full-fledged Nativity scene at all this year given the spate of erroneous media reports that Benedict was canceling the traditional display featuring Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus in a manger surrounded by farm animals.
In his recent book "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives," Benedict noted that there is no biblical reference to animals in the manger at the time of Jesus' birth a statement of fact that nevertheless sparked headlines around the world.
Lost in the hype was Benedict's quick conclusion that "No representation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass."
Vatican officials confirmed that this year's Nativity scene would indeed have ox and ass, as well as hens and sheep typical of southern Italy's famed artisinal Nativity scenes.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
December 14, 2012
Mexican archaeologists discover 1,000 year old cemetery in the State of Sonora
According to scientist from the University of Oregon, fossil find challenges tree of life as we know it
Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors
Man jailed for two years for defacing Rothko work in London's Tate Modern gallery
Florida won't restore rights to famed American Museum of Natural History jewel thief
Terra Foundation CEO Elizabeth Glassman awarded French Medal of Honor
80-year-old Spanish botched fresco artist sells work on eBay for charity organization
Saffronart announces its Modern Indian Art Winter Online Auction 2012 taking place on 18-19 December
Henrietta Leon Girshman's Carnet de Salon leads Bonhams Russian Literature Auction
Tate announces groundbreaking £5 million arts award for under 25s funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Indianapolis Museum of Art commissions Spencer Finch for Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion
Spectacular British, Islamic collections headline Heritage Auctions event in New York
Beatles rock Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale; Exceptional prices achieved for Beatles items
New series of works on paper, videos and a mobile sculpture by Roger Andersson at Poppy Sebire
Hermes rules at largest luxury accessories auction ever: $3.2 Million
New, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery will benefit entire visual arts community
Shaun Odell exhibits at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York
Sweden's ice hotel, a work of art for the here-and-now
Vatican austerity means donated nativity scene
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- The finest opal ever unearthed will be publicly displayed for the first time in Australia
2.- Archaeologists report Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza built over an underground river
3.- United States returns long-lost Pablo Picasso painting "The Hairdresser" to France
4.- A year after discovery, no answers to a possible resting place of Alexander the Great
5.- National Art School Gallery presents major exhibition of work by Australian artist Rosemary Laing
6.- New Princess Diana wedding photographs up for auction at RR Auctions in Boston
7.- Gregory Crewdson's uncanny images of deceptively serene suburban life on view at the San Diego Museum of Art
8.- Foreigners, 10 men and 10 women, named to head some of Italy's greatest museums
9.- Tate Liverpool to show one of the most iconic works ever made by Henri Matisse
10.- Royals warn against paparazzi pictures of Prince George; Urged media to boycott their pictures
Vatican Apostolic Library Reopens to Scholars After Three-Year and $11.5 Million Restoration
Crux Vaticana-Golden Cross in Vatican's Collection Gets New Look
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|