Friday 28 October 2016

'It's a different card for a different President' - Michael D Higgins praised for using 'breastfeeding Madonna' on official Christmas greeting

David Kearns

Published 17/12/2015 | 15:16

President Michael D Higgins has won widespread praise for his official festive greeting which will feature the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the infant Jesus.

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The image of ‘Madonna of the Green Cushion’ will be sent to hundreds of heads of states and diplomats around the world at the beginning of next week.

“It’s a different card for a different President”, said a spokesperson for President Higgins.

“The image speaks for itself, and we’ve been delighted by the response it has received so far.”

A copy of the famous Madonna by Italian painter Andrea Solario was presented to the President and his wife Sabina by new mother Monika Wocial-Finke during an audience at Áras an Uachtaráin in early October.

Ms Wocial-Finke was one of a hundred breastfeeding mothers invited to Mr Higgins’ home to celebrate ‘Breastfeeding Week’.

The 16th century painting is widely considered to be a powerful symbol of care and love.

It currently resides in the Denon wing of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The decision to feature a breastfeeding mother on his official presidential greetings card has won Mr Higgins many supporters online.

Moments after the card’s official release, many Irish users said it was “fantastic” and “great” to see breastfeeding “being normalised”.

“Great to see such a beautiful message being sent out to the world,” said one Facebook user.

While one wrote: “Behind Michael D all the way on this one. Love it!”

Across Twitter the comments were equally supportive, with one user saying: “How anyone finds this controversial or the like is beyond me. Nice to see a breast being used for its intended purpose for a change.”

“Only an Irishman could send out a picture of Jesus with ginger hair! Fair play to Michael D,” joked another.

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