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."


  1. I'm a convert, and you certainly have not made me feel unwelcome - I'm a regular reader of your blog.

    Keep posting, and God bless!

  2. Dear Mr. Nelson,

    You remind me of someone that had been made to go to Seminary and kept escaping.

    Three times that he escaped the angels brought him back until the Holy Mother told him to knock it off.

    She promised to grant him the graces necessary.

    He became Saint Pope Albert the Great.

    Walk next to our Mother and quit bugging her with your insecurities.

    When people need to be apologized to, it demonstrates their hate for God and His Christ.

    Continue to be like twelve year old Daniel, who spoke with authority when the Judges falsely accused Susanna.

    For some reason our Mother loves you dearly.


  3. Thanks. Be careful not to think too highly of me.

  4. What SMCTOD said. I think you apologize WAY too much. Should the Early Church Fathers apologize for anathematizing Gnostics, Arians, Nestorians et al? Should the Lord Jesus Christ apologize for calling Peter "satan" Herod "that fox" and the Pharisees and Saducees "hypocrites"?

    The prophets and The Lord Jesus Christ wasn't afraid of "hurting feelings" so why are you? It's called "tough love".

  5. I don't think you owed anyone an apology, but I am glad that you clarified a bit. Of course one's experiences color how they feel about things; we all bring our past into our perceptions. I come from the point of view of being a cradle Catholic, but half my blood relatives and all of my in-laws were Protestant. None of them were ever other than kind and loving to me; so it always bothers me if someone is engaged in "bashing" (you weren't). I understand that you were refering to the spirituality, not the people themselves.
    And it works the other way around, too. I'm sure we've all read the little poem "The Gospel According to You". Not scintillating poetry, but makes a good point. If the only thing people know about the Catholic spirituality is watching how we who are Catholics live our lives and treat others; would they be favorably impressed?

  6. now that you have apologized *way too much* i have to apologize too for having sounded too defensive.... o sapientia - VENI... into this blogosphere....

  7. I second and third the comment that you apologize for your sincere thoughts and insights.
    Perhaps folks are just a leetle too sensitive and thin-skinned?

    Yes I know, now somebody will insist that I have offended the sensitive and thin-skinned!

    Your blog makes me think, ponder, reflect, search my heart, gasp in delight, learn, and consider things I had not heretofore considered.

    For all of this, I thank you.

    And, may you have a very Catholic Christmas!

  8. I just thought you were being courteous. You've got nothing to apologize for, but I'd have done the same.

  9. The only converts who take issue with such comments are those who think that by virtue of their conversion they have are better than Cradle Catholics.


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