"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I don't hate Protestants.
Here comes Santa!
I'm concerned that a post I wrote on my blog about Protestant influences in Catholicism and its affect on the Santa story - stupid topic, I know - but it comes off anti-Protestant, and I fear I offended some converts - which wasn't really my intention at all. I'm unable to explain myself very well sometimes, so a little background might help: I grew up with a Lutheran dad in a hostle household; in one of her marriages his mother was wedded to a Pentecostal tent preacher, and another of his siblings belonged to another denomination that hated Catholics and Catholic devotion. I only mention this to explain part of the root of my prejudice, and perhaps why I tend to be a skeptic regarding church-people so often. (I know, who cares.)
Be that as it may - I feel I owe converts an apology. I very much admire that they left everything, sometimes family, and in some cases ordained ministry, to come back home to the Church. Yes, I believe Protestant converts have enriched the Church immensely. That said, I also believe many Catholics, especially in the United States, have been adversely affected by fundamentalism and Pentecostalism - not to mention indifferentism. In other words, Christians who have rejected traditional piety, and very often dogma, and to be sure - anything papist or hierarchical.
Of course Santa is not dogma or a required belief - he is not even necessary for salvation - especially the mythical image. (So deprive your children of joy and religious celebrations of the saints. Be a bad parent. Just kidding!) I like to exaggerate the tradition more or less to demonstrate just how much has been lost as regards devotion to the saints, and tradition. I notice it especially amongst younger cradle Catholics - who nevertheless on their own embrace a version of the prosperity gospel at Christmas. (Lots of presents, brand names, latest gadgets, designer wear, etc.. What is more Protestant than that Tammy Faye?)
To each his own. I happen to one who continues to believe myth is important for children and adults to some extent - it is creative and captures or reflects elements of truth and beauty.
I'm not sure I explain myself very well here - it isn't really an important topic to begin with - my real concern is that I may have made some converts feel unwelcome. There is so much real error out there however, therefore I cannot blame some for clinging to a sort of puritanical rigidity. As I mentioned in an earlier post, "after reading a few blog posts elsewhere, and listening to some friends, a great many people seem to be misled these days... even the 'elect' if that were possible."
So anyway - I'm just a sentimental guy who loves traditional Christmas and I went too far in my post on Santa. I'm sorry. "Pay no attention to that man behind the green curtain."