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Neapolitan craftsman produced Nativity creche for St. Peter's Square

December 04, 2013

Neapolitan craftsmen have produced the Nativity scene that will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square this year.

Antonio Cantone, who has won recognition not only as a craftsman but also as a critic of the Mafia, directed the production of the 16 life-sized figures, which will be dressed in 18th-century Neapolitan style. The backdrop for the Nativity scene will be a rural landscape from Campania, the region surrounding Naples.

The firm of Cantone and Costabile donated the Nativity scene to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, who in turn offered it to Pope Francis. The Vatican chooses a different Nativity scene to be displayed each year in St. Peter’s Square. The crèche scene is traditionally installed before Christmas, but kept under wraps until the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

The region of Campania has come top public attention recently for a less welcome reason. Large quantities of toxic waste have been dumped and burned illegally in the area, producing noxious fumes and causing a spike in rate of cancer among local residents. Cardinal Sepe has denounced the practice—for which the Mafia is believed responsible—and warned that those responsible are in a state of sin and should not receive Communion.


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