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'Jesus born of unmarried couple' message stirs debate

Controversy follows graffiti on nativity scene in Sicily

23 December, 18:12
'Jesus born of unmarried couple' message stirs debate (ANSA) - Messina, December 23 - The message "Jesus was born of an unmarried couple" triggered controversy Monday when it was found scrawled on a Nativity scene in the Sicilian city of Messina.

The manger scene, which typically depicts the birth of Jesus on Christmas, was created by the Arcigay lobby group, representing homosexuals, and was set up in the city's municipal square.

The controversy followed a city resolution on the registration of civil unions, and the Nativity scene - which included two Marys - was condemned by some who said the message was "blasphemous".

The story of the Nativity includes a dogma of the Catholic Church: that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin when the baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem.