December 24, 2008

Nativity mosque sparks right-wing outcry

The right-wing Northern League political party in Italy sharply criticized a Catholic priest who included a model mosque with his church's nativity scene.

Mario Borghezio, a Northern League member of the European Parliament, called Father Prospero Bonzani of the Our Lady of Providence church in Genoa an imbecile after he included a miniature mosque in the skyline of Bethlehem in the church's nativity scene, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

What on earth possessed him to put a mosque in a traditional Christmas nativity scene? I hope that the Church authorities in (Genoa) will investigate this as a matter of urgency, Borghezio said. What will this priest do when he says Mass during Ramadan? Ask us to turn towards Mecca? He may as well have included a suicide bomber wearing dynamite, said Borghezio, whose party has sought to prevent the building of new mosques in Italy.

However, Bonzani defended his inclusion of a mosque in the skyline, saying he wanted the nativity scene to reflect a modern Bethlehem and send a message of inter-faith cooperation.

As for Mr. Borghezio, he is showing complete ignorance of his so-called Catholic faith to love thy neighbor as thyself, the priest said.