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."