So said Pope Francis:
“In our times, especially in Europe, we’re seeing a ‘distortion’ of Christmas,” the pope said in his final General Audience of 2017.
“In the name of a false respect for non-Christians, which often hides a desire to marginalize the faith, every reference to the birth of Christ is being eliminated from the holiday,” Francis said. “But in reality, this event is the one true Christmas!”
“Without Jesus, there is no Christmas,” the pope said, drawing strong applause from a crowd gathered Wednesday morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall.
“If he’s at the center, then everything around him, that is, the lights, the songs, the various local traditions, including the characteristic foods, all comes together to create the atmosphere of a real festival,” he said.
“But if we take [Christ] away, the lights go off and everything becomes fake, mere appearances,” the pope said.
Go here to read the rest. Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the American context for these remarks:
Yep. You heard that right. For years, post-Conservatives have proudly joined the secular, non-Christian Left in mocking the whole ‘war on Christmas’ and ‘culture wars.’ This laughable notion that we should care that our society demanded the Christian element of the Christmas holiday be eliminated from public acknowledgement was condemned by those wishing to separate themselves from those defending the traditions of the Christian West.
From Mark Shea to Southern Baptist ethics leader Russel Moore, open contempt for those bothered by this push to silence the Christian elements of Christmas has become almost a confession of the post-traditional Faith. It was a way to say “we’re not like those non-liberal types over there.”
And now, suddenly, Pope Francis has jumped in an echoed – what those bemoaning the secularization and elimination of Christ from Christmas have been lamenting. He’s not alone. I’ve met several over the years from other countries who were shocked that American Christians seem to easily accept being pushed around and out the door of public discourse and celebration.
Will this become a wake up call for the Christians who have been fighting the Long Retreat over the years? Those who figure the Left has won, the West is dead, and it’s best to cozy up to the new power as best we can, and that might include avoiding the C-Word in Christmas settings on the off chance we offend someone who matters? We’ll see. I’ve noticed that for a pope who is adored and loved by the majority, there seems to be about 1/2 of what he says that drops through the storm drains.
Go here to comment. Societies sometimes become one-trick ponies and find themselves in a dead end. China with its exam system eventually produced government officials who were mainly good at passing exams and nothing else. Assyria was hell on wheels for military conquest until it aroused endless domestic civil wars, with its matchless army turned upon itself, and foreign coalitions that eventually made Assyria a half forgotten memory. The deep South depended so entirely on slavery that it would destroy the Union to protect it, and ended up destroying its economic system as a result. Secularization in the West is in a similar blind end. Christ reminded Satan that man does not live by bread alone, and the pursuit of materialism solely produces societies with an inherent death wish, as man needs some better reason to exist than to satisfy physical needs and desires that have ever been a means and not an end in themselves. We all have a God-sized hole in our souls, and attempts to ignore that fundamental fact of human existence are either bleakly humorous or bleakly tragic depending upon the mood of the observer.