Around New England

Dedham Church Puts Up Nativity Scene Criticizing U.S. Border Policy

December 6, 2018

A Catholic church in Dedham is displaying a nativity scene that shows the baby Jesus in a cage and the wise men closed off by a wall.

A sign above the nativity scene says:  “Peace on Earth?”

Parishioners of St. Susanna’s say they are making a statement about U.S. immigration policy, although the pastor told WBZ-TV Channel 4 that it isn’t necessarily a criticism of the Trump administration or even political activism, but rather what he calls “Gospel activism,” according to CBS Boston.

“We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message,” Father Stephen Josoma, the pastor, told Channel 4. “…“Jesus was about taking care of one another. And this is not the way to take care of one another.”

Pat Ferrone, a member of the parish’s Pax Christi Committee, said the nativity offers a Gospel message. “We talk about Matthew 25, and feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger,” she told CBS Boston.

Pax Christi, which means “Peace of Christ” in Latin, is a left-of-center Catholic organization that advocates against militarization, nuclear weapons, guns, and securing the U.S. border, according to a policy statement.

“’The land of the free and the home of the brave’ is quickly becoming an oxymoron with the latest decision by the White House to deploy the National Guard to the Southern Border region of the US,” the Pax Christi policy statement says. “This is another indignity aimed at our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers who predominantly come from communities of color.”

A Dedham resident who came to see the nativity scene at St. Susanna’s criticized it as overreach for a church.

“This is where you come to pray. This is not where you come to be preached at about what you should think about politics,” Helen Watson told CBS Boston.