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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December, 2004, 15:35 GMT
'Tasteless' Christmas attacked
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
The cardinal says Christians are 'swimming against the stream'
Christian symbols are being denigrated over the Christmas period, according to the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

David Beckham appearing as Joseph in a waxwork nativity, and an advertisement using the Last Supper were criticised by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

"It seems incredible that Christianity, particularly Christmas, is displayed in a way that is so tasteless," he said.

Christianity is "part of the mosaic of religion" in Britain, he added.

He told Radio 4's Today programme that Christians in Europe are "swimming against the stream" of secularism, but claimed that Britain has a different tradition.

"The British people have a tolerance and a respect for religious values... the secularity of Britain is not averse to hearing the voice of religious people," the cardinal added.

Religious and non-religious people would be offended by the Madame Tussaud's waxwork - which also features Victoria Beckham as Mary and Kylie Minogue as an angel.

"To have a very special part of Christianity depicted in this way and its most precious symbol, which is the coming of God into the world in Jesus Christ, seems to me to be not just disrespectful to Christians, it is also disrespectful to the heritage of Britain and also does damage to the culture of this country," he said.



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