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Happy Holidays

2010 November 10
by Gordon Reid

There is so much wrong with calling the Christmas Season the Holidays, that I hardly know where to begin.

If our Holy Mother the Church had not decided arbitrarily to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, we would not have had time off work round this date at all.

And it is anti-Christian discrimination to avoid both the words Christ and Mass when talking about this time off work. Of course, the Christian can feel secret pleasure in the fact that even the euphemism lands the unbeliever in the trap of calling the season the Holy Days. We should ask innocently: “Oh, and what holy days are these?”

Even better, the Holidays are those for the year 2010, and we ¬†could also ask, with equal innocence, “Oh, and what happened two thousand and ten year ago that was so important that we date everything from it?”.

But pagan-bating palls after a while, so I guess I’ll just carry on refusing to hear any “Happy Holidays” greeting, and bellowing out in reply “And I hope you have a very Merry Christmas too”.

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Two or three days ago the Telegraph announced five Church of England bishops were poping to be followed by twenty or twenty-five parishes, and that is just the first wave as future parishes and converts were preparing to join them. An Anglo-Catholic priest was quoted in the article saying it was just a matter of time until he joins them, implying that what’s left of the Anglo-Catholic sector in its entirety would soon be gone. I thought for sure we’d get your take on this major development, Canon Reid, almost immediately, especially Rowan’s comment that he regretted two of the bishops resignations! Your readers want answers, at least this one!

    • Paul Emmons permalink
      November 10, 2010

      Mr. Fuhrman,

      Did you miss his blog entry on Oct. 22, “R.C. Ordinariate”? He also wrote one almost exactly a year earlier on the subject. I remember it well because his position surprised me, but his reasoning was convincing.

      Some of these dissidents and deserters like to say that the ordination of women is what bothers them; but if this were the case, why are they leaving now rather than a generation ago? What really bothers them (as many of them do say) is the consecration of Gene Robinson.

      In other words, they are more up in arms about one bishop whose orders are (by our lights, anyway) perfectly indubitable, than about some whom they (and we) doubt are bishops at all: a rather embarrassing flag, don’t you think, for anyone with a sense of logic to fly. In light of this situation, Fr. Reid furthermore ended his comments memorably: “as for those who have left because of gay Anglican priests and bishops, they are going to have a nasty awakening when it dawns on them why celibacy for many Roman Catholic priests and bishops is no problem at all!”

      One just needs, as it were, to read the minutes of previous meetings.

      • John permalink
        November 21, 2010

        Do I detect anti Catholic bitterness in you comments? That is certainly not Christian.The use of terms like dissidents and deserters is appalling.
        People must follow their consciences.

      • Bromartin permalink
        December 1, 2010

        Mr. Emmons,

        “Dissidents” and “deserters” is hardly an appropriate way to label those who are immersing themselves in an understanding of the fullness of faith in the greater Western Catholic Church.
        It might be said, rather, that the Church in England (beginning in the 16th century) and the Church of England, as well as so many of it’s affiliate in the Communion, have been compelled to be deserters and have been staunch dissidents in their reaction to universal Catholicism.

  2. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Good heavens, Mr. Emmons, your referenced Oct. 22nd blog entry, which I well remembered, spoke of one bishop, not five! Minor detail, I realize! I suggest you read the Daily Telegraph article to understand the gravity of the matter and strength of the movement to Rome. Lastly, it seems to me that Fr. Reid has greatly underestimated the pope’s appeal to Anglicans and its’ ultimate outcome. Frankly, I’m reminded of stock market forecasters who miss important turning points. It will be interesting to observe what happens with the what’s left of the American Anglo-Catholic element and Episcopal religious orders in the future.

  3. Paul Emmons permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Awhile back, one heard in a sermon (as has also been elaborated and documented on a web page which alas I can’t find again) that the date of Christmas is not entirely arbitrary: the ancients considered it a mark of perfection to die on the same day of the year as one had been conceived. We know that Our Lord was crucified around the Passover, in the spring. Is it a mere coincidence that the Annunciation must often be transferred due to Holy Week or Easter observances? Whether holding this “mark of perfection” to be true or not, if it were a fairly general opinion when the Kalendar was being developed, then the church would honor Our Lord ceremonially by observing His conception on the anniversary of His death; and the date on which we celebrate His birth would follow from that, rather than vice versa.

    Can anyone substantiate this? While I have no problem with the thought that the date of Christmas grew out of Saturnalia, perhaps as a cover in times of persecution, it would be good to present unbelievers with this refutation of their scoff that it were entirely a matter of synchretism.

  4. Paul Goings permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Mr Emmons,

    That might be true about various churchmen in these United States, but I assure you that the issue in England is women in the episcopate, which is just now presenting itself as an intractable difficulty thus making the Ordinariate ever so much more appealing. The five bishops who have just resigned have not done so out of any outrage over Dr Robinson.

    That said, Mr Fuhrman’s mention of a “first wave” rather overstates the case. There will be many waves in England, generally as priests retire and parishes are unable to secure validly ordained and orthodox clergy, but I can’t imagine that any of these waves will be numerically significant. In America I’d imagine that there will be even fewer. That’s not to say that the Ordinariate isn’t a significant development, or that it won’t be a great leap forward for those who are inclined to become a part of it, but we need not believe that a year hence there’ll be no Anglo-Catholics left!

    Oh, and Merry Christmas! (Or, rather, a blessed Martinmas.)

    • Paul Emmons permalink
      November 10, 2010

      >Oh, and Merry Christmas! (Or, rather, a blessed Martinmas.)

      Thank you, Paul. We hear all the time, “put the Christ back in Christmas.” I’d like to see a bumper sticker reading “Christmas: put the mass back in, too.” :-)

      • Bromartin permalink
        November 11, 2010

        “Even better, the holidays (Holy Days) are those for the year 2010,…”

        How unfortunate that there are so many among us who have no idea what the Christ-mas(s) is about.
        I guess your question would startle some, and actually cause them to try to recall. Still many would simply dismiss you as an old gruffy.

        The trivialization of Christmas is very sad indeed, and my inclination is to meet these “holiday blowout” people eye-to-eye, and to give them a smiling Christmas greeting–and if I know them at all well, I may pass to them an appropriate card in time as the great days approach.

  5. Bromartin permalink
    November 11, 2010

    Happy SAINT MARTIN’S (of Tours)day everyone.

  6. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    November 11, 2010

    Mr. Goings, the characterization of the recent decision of five Church of England bishops and twenty to twenty-five parishes to go over to Rome as “the first wave” was the Daily Telegraphs’ phrase, which I simply quoted. Here in my hometown in midwest America, our local Anglo-Catholic splinter group church has disbanded, sold their property, and are preparing right now to convert to Roman Catholicism. Something major is afoot and it would be unrealistic and foolish to pooh-pooh it. Sadly, those who left our local Episcopal parish to found this alternative Anglican parish were among the most devout and generous we had. Now that they are going onto Rome it is causing deep splits in families and the businesses they owned and operated. Very sad indeed.

    • Paul Goings permalink
      November 11, 2010

      Mr Fuhrman,

      I quite agree that something major is afoot, even if I might disagree with others’ estimates about numbers.

      I disagree with any characterization of those who are planning to enter the Ordinariates as bad actors. My sympathies are with those who are able to practice the fullness of the faith and retain certain elements of the Anglican pastoral and liturgical tradition. I imagine that if the time comes where we have a similar split in our parish the results would be equally dispiriting.

  7. ambly permalink
    November 11, 2010

    Let’s put St Martin back in Martinmas.

  8. Stacey permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Ah, you can blame “political correctness” for the “Holidays” vs. “Christmas” nonsense. Is being “PC” as bad in Europe as in the States?
    I have no qualms about saying “Christmas” or displaying Christmas, as one who erects a small Christmas tree with lights and nativity creche on my desk at my (secular) workplace year after year. I’ll do it ’til they say “Stop it.”

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