Italy: Church nativity scene featuring two mothers of Jesus sparks accusation of blasphemy

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More than 21,000 people have signed a petition calling on a bishop to intervene in the row after the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, in the Avellino hamlet of Capocastello di Mercogliano, features what appears to be two mothers, rather than just Mary and Joseph.

Father Vitaliano Della Sala, the pastor of the church, says that:

"In our parishes we see more and more children from the new types of families that exist and are part of our society, children of separated and divorced people, gay couples, single people, young mothers."

Father Della Sala, who is known in Italy for expressing sympathy for LGBT and left-wing causes, has insisted his attitude is similar to that of Pope Francis, who in a landmark ruling this week, allowed priests to bless same-sex couples.

However, Senator Maurizio Gasparri, from the co-ruling Forza Italia party, said the LGBT creche "offends all those who always had respect and devotion for the Holy Family".

And the Pro-Vita & Famiglia (Pro-Life and Family) group called it "dangerous, as well as shameful and blasphemous".

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