Because they are frequently vandalized, higher-tech nativity scenes have been known to embed a GPS device in Baby Jesus in order to track where the figurine ends up should it get snatched. But what about tracking where little J.C. comes from?
Displayed on city property in front of Old City Hall sits a nativity scene donated to the people of Toronto by the Lay Catholic movement Gethsemane Ministries. While Gethsemane takes responsibility for erecting the crèche itself, the statues of Mary, Jesus, some barn animals, and what is either Joseph or a Wise Man (dude with staff swaddled in cloth—who can tell?) are “Donated by Campaign Life Catholic in honour of the efforts of Pro-life hero Fr. Ted Colleton.”
The Campaign Life Coalition—Campaign Life Catholic’s umbrella organization—works at all levels of Canadian government to “restore the right to life.” The CLC defines itself as the political wing of Canada’s pro-life movement, acknowledging that this is but one part of a trinity that includes organizations performing educational and charitable functions. That is to say, the CLC supports other groups whose aim is to educate and provide charity, but their function is strictly political, and their scope includes municipal government.
The nativity scene in front of Old City Hall is not only displayed on city property, but also runs an extension cord into a City-owned building, powering the continuously lit display with taxpayers’ money. Whether the City simply neglected to trace the origin of the donation and was unaware of the pro-life message that the crèche came weighted with or whether they believe that the scene’s place on city property is justified remains unknown: no one that Torontoist spoke with from the City was able to comment. Sure, it’s the season of giving, but should our local government accept and display politically inspired gifts? What would Jesus do?
Photos by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.
Thanks to reader Jason Behzadian for the tip.