Letters to the Bishop

A Plea for Clarity

Your Excellency:

I trust you are in robust spirits as you face the rigors of the Christmas season.  Surely, nowhere is there greater evidence that sin is a good wrongly twisted than in the manner in which we Americans celebrate Christmas.  Contrary to our Church’s teaching, which emphasizes the penitential and preparatory aspects of Advent, many Catholics (like other Americans) spend December shopping like mall rats, eating and drinking like sybarites, and dashing from party to party like girls during a sorority rush.  Is it any wonder so many celebrants are delighted to see the backside of Christmas?  On the Feast of Stephen, brigades of holiday-weary women hurl denuded conifers curbside for pickup, while strong, otherwise stoic men weep at kitchen tables over smoldering credit cards.  Christmastide, that garland of feast days leading to Epiphany when our hearts should be riotous with celebration, finds many of us staggering and wan, debilitated as bachelor uncles after a month-long bender.

Here, Your Excellency, you deserve our thanks.  Every Advent, you and your fellow priests remind us to make Christmas more than a bacchanal of department stores and gluttony.

Speaking of reminders: One of our parish priests gave yet another homily on the Catholic obligation to applaud the ongoing invasion of the United States.  About once a month, Father beats us about the head with facts and fantasies regarding...

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