Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS A ‘hipster’ version of the Nativity scene is displayed at Saint-Joseph’s Oratory’s museum Monday. The Orartory is not selling the controversial item in its gift shop.

‘Hipster’ Nativity scene in Montreal doesn’t please all the faithful

MONTREAL — A Nativity scene inside Canada’s largest church asks the question, what would Joseph and Mary do if Jesus were born in modern times? The answer: take a selfie and flash a peace sign.

A controversial depiction of Christ’s birth on display at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory reflects western society’s embrace of technology, healthy living and the self.

Joseph and Mary are posing next to the baby Jesus for a selfie — presumably to boast how their child is the son of God, as opposed to all the regular babies on their friends’ social media feeds.

Next to the manger — which is topped with solar panels — are the three wise men on Segways, holding boxes that are conspicuously similar to the packages of the online retail giant, Amazon.

The innkeeper, who in the biblical account rents the manger to Joseph and his pregnant wife, is fixated on his handheld digital screen and wears headphones that would drown out news of the miraculous birth.

Museum curator Chantal Turbide said the scene hasn’t brought joy to everyone’s hearts.

“Feelings are mixed,” said Turbide, whose museum is located inside the historic oratory on the flank of Mount Royal.

So much so that the museum had to place a disclaimer next to the scene in order to calm unhappy visitors.

“The museum is aware that the appearance of this creche has raised some concerns,” it reads. “Far from being irreverent, this creche is intended to make us smile.”

St. Joseph’s Oratory has about 1,000 Nativity scenes from about 100 countries, Turbide said.

What she called the ”hipster creche,” first displayed in 2017, is part of the church’s permanent exhibit of Nativity scenes from around the world.

Turbide said that while the scene is certainly provocative — for example, Mary has a bare shoulder and bra strap exposed — it is customary for Nativity scenes to be interpreted around the world according to local customs and cultures.

She pointed to a scene from Africa, where the usual cow and donkey are replaced by a giraffe and zebra next to the baby Jesus.

“This one doesn’t have a donkey,” Turbide said, “but it does have a cow, stamped with ‘100 per cent organic’ on its backside.”

Francois Trudel, 74, who was visiting the oratory Monday, said he very much liked the scene.

“Jesus didn’t live just for the first century in which he was born,” he said. “He lived for eternity. The creche shows to what extent man is intelligent. It shows what God put inside him and how those tools progressed to make life better.”

Dinara Salaeva, 27, who was visiting from Toronto, said she didn’t think the scene was appropriate.

“I’m agnostic, but I still respect everything related to the Bible and the images,” she said. “So when I see that, I feel like it’s not necessarily mocking, but maybe it’s a little disrespectful of other people’s beliefs.”

Just Posted

Cool summer, wet fall challenging farmers’ harvest timbetables

Farmers would love to see several weeks of warm, windy weather

History: Red Deer area has been leaning right for 80 years

Red Deer has been conservative country for generations. It’s been that way… Continue reading

Rezoning approved for contentious Pine Lake residential project

About a dozen residents express concerns about project to council

‘Life can be amazing if you let it,’ says Red Deer DJ who quit drugs

Tyler Cater went from being suicidal to touring the country with rapper Merkules

Sylvan Lake man accused of killing his wife

Satnam Singh Sandhu charged with second-degree murder after wife died in hospital on Saturday

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Comparing streaks of sub-70 rounds for Hovland, Estes

Viktor Hovland tied the PGA Tour record on Sunday at The Greenbrier… Continue reading

Court denies Canadian bobsled pilot Kaillie Humphries’ request for injunction

CALGARY — Bobsled’s governing body in Canada still wants Kaillie Humphries to… Continue reading

Kaillie Humphries still seeking to slide for USA Bobsled

Bobsledder Kaillie Humphries is not dropping her plans to slide for USA… Continue reading

Former Canopy co-CEO Bruce Linton sees big opportunity in psychedelics

Canopy Growth Corp.’s co-founder and recently ousted co-chief executive has his eye… Continue reading

Outspoken Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger stepping down later this year

CALGARY — One of the oilpatch’s most outspoken critics of Canadian federal… Continue reading

You can pay your property taxes with Bitcoin in certain places (if you want to)

Residents in a handful of Canadian municipalities have a new, if risky,… Continue reading

Report finds immigrant wage gap costing Canada $50 billion a year in GDP

The growing wage gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers has hit a… Continue reading

Most Read