Priest Defends Same-Sex Nativity Scene–An Anti-Fascist Act

Priest Defends Same-Sex Nativity Scene–An Anti-Fascist Act December 24, 2023

As I searched for a Christmas story, I came across an Italian priest named Father Vitaliano Della Salla.  During this Christmas season, he is defending a same-sex Nativity scene that he created in his Catholic parish in the city of Capocastello Di Mercogliano.  The video explains Father Salla’s reasonings.  He begins by defending the children of different types of families which are not the traditional nuclear family: gay couples, single people, and young mothers.  I will add that there are also blended families and other equal and holy variations of the human family.   We can no longer exclude and condemn these families because they are made in God’s image,  and they are too numerous to not fully welcome and include. They must be greeted and loved with respect while fully-integrated into society.  Otherwise, we place them in danger.

Italian priest defends same-sex nativity scene | Reuters (

Father Salla then emphasizes that treating the adults and children within all families well is crucial, particularly when they take steps such as receiving their first communion.  I (Julie) believe that these acts of kindness towards variations of the non-traditional nuclear family need to spread like wildfire because they are acts of public love against the growing threat of right-winged fascism on a global scale.

According to Reuter’s magazine, there are reactionary groups in Italy called the Forza Italia party and the Pro-Vita & Famiglia group.  Pro-Vita launched an online petition calling on the bishop of Avellino to intervene, saying the nativity scene contradicted the Church’s teachings on the family and legitimized same-sex parenting and surrogacy.  Having children through surrogacy is illegal in Italy.  Current efforts are being made to criminalize international surrogacy attempts.   These examples in Italy are just a few of many.  The strong reactions of the religious right in many countries all over the world are endangering non-nuclear families who are incapable to fitting into the traditional  family mold due to either biology or circumstances.

In my past more judgmental days, I falsely assumed that these efforts made my everyday people to go against the Church’s teaching were strictly by choice.  I would have condemned the alteration of the Holy Family although just verbally and not through action. I’ve come to understand and learn through lived examples that efforts for minority groups to also have marriage and family require non-traditional means which many times do contradict the Church’s teaching.  But I believe a much greater moral reality is true, that denying basic human rights to minority groups for the sake of “upholding the law” is a violation of human dignity and many times the right-to-life which are both Catholic Social Teachings.

Witnessing example after example of reactionary Catholics and other right-wing religious groups like some American Evangelicals is starting to cause a great deal of spiritual sickness in me at times, particularly as a parent and practitioner. It’s the reason I had to take a three-month break from writing in the past.  Some conservative Catholics have asked me, “Julie, why don’t you just leave the Church?” or, “This is what you deserve for advocating against the Church’s teaching.” I reply this way.  What is the point of Church teaching if it harms and endangers peoples’ lives, well-being, and basic human rights.  What kind of God and religious institutions do that? It’s not anything that I want to be a part of.  In finally forming my conscience which embraces all people fully, I’ve concluded that if Church teaching harms and endangers people, it’s not being applied in a way that honors Jesus Christ or His Church of today. We must face lived realities that the modern family is so much more than the traditional  nuclear  family. Not facing this reality in love will harm and endanger people. We cannot force all families back to a pre-1960s model. Doing so is fascism.

I believe this is why God called me to conversion as a Catholic, to stand by the marginalized modern family as Pope Francis and Jesus would call me to do.



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