- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2019

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to place Nativity scenes in conspicuous locations — from jobs to hospitals — so that “this custom will never be lost.”

“I wish to encourage the beautiful family tradition of preparing the nativity scene in the days before Christmas, but also the custom of setting up in the workplace, in schools, hospitals, prison and town squares,” Francis said Sunday in an apostolic letter published on the Vatican’s website.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that public displays of creches — featuring images of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus in a manger, angels, shepherds and the Magi — are permissible.

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In his letter, the pope pointed out that Nativity scenes can include images of a starry sky, sheep and the stable in Bethlehem, as well as beggars, bakers, musicians and a woman carrying jugs of water.

Last year, the town council for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, ordered a Catholic church to remove a Nativity scene from a public square.

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center poll, 44% of adults said Christian symbols should be allowed to be posted in public areas even if not accompanied by non-Christian elements.

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