Vatican austerity means donated nativity scene

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Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 6:34 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has happily accepted a donated Nativity scene for St. Peter's Square this Christmas after its previous €550,000 ($717,000) setup was exposed by the embarrassing scandal over leaked Vatican documents.

Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, the No. 2 administrator of the Vatican city state, told reporters Thursday that the Vatican was spending just €21,800 ($28,400) for labor and costs to mount the larger-than-life scene that will be unveiled Dec. 24. The Italian region of Basilicata — one of Italy's poorest — provided the scene itself after raising nearly €90,000 ($117,000) from corporate and other sponsors.

One of the most damaging documents leaked during the so-called Vatileaks scandal was a letter from Sciacca's predecessor complaining that the Vatican was losing millions on corruption and unnecessary expenses such as the 2009 scene.

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