Friday, November 25, 2011

Almost Advent, and the start of secular Christmas

  • Black Friday myths. From Cracked.
  • Confession of a recovering Advent nag. Sure, technically you’re right but nobody likes a know-it-all especially the church-lady kind. Basically it’s a way for church geeks to be holier than thou. The lefty nags have a point too that in turning Catholicism’s second most important feast (theologically; culturally it’s No. 1: presents, parties and booze) into four weeks to a couple months of shopping, we’re all being played/fleeced.
  • Real Advent and Christmas are far from gone, from the ‘keep us mindful of the needs of others’ message to a line regular readers know: I love the season because the Protestants sort of come home. They forget they don’t like us and put up statues of Jesus and Mary and sing in Latin.
  • Starting Sunday the ICEL Novus nightmare is over. Hooray for Pope Benedict. In English-speaking countries he’s fixed all the serious problems with Catholic services. You don’t have to like the remaining ’70s low-church style (of course I don’t, and the young NLMers are slowly rolling it back). What’s important is there’s now nothing heretical in the default Mass offered in English (‘consubstantial with the Father’ instead of baby talk, ‘for you and for many’ instead of universalism rewriting Jesus’ words, and even the poetic ‘and with your spirit’ is back!) and the new texts keep the would-be heretics in line (or they can always go somewhere else), just like the Tridentine Mass used to. There’s a slight chance of a Pope taking Benedict’s renewal up a notch and issuing a vernacular Tridentine Mass... as the norm? (What I’d like to see the American ordinariate do once it gets going next year, with the American Missal, as Antioch does, not the Book of Divine Worship.) Chances are that Mass will remain in Latin and of a minority. High-churching Novus so it more or less looks the same is not a bad second prize.
  • Almost time for the big change in the office, after a long run of Salve, regina to Alma redemptoris mater.
  • ‘Happy holidays’? No problem. Include non-Christians to be polite. Better than the other, old generic one, ‘Season’s Greetings’ (even though one of my fave small towns here, Collingswood, NJ, above, has that in lights over its Main Street, like Bedford Falls). ‘Holiday tree’ is rubbish of course. I like the game of calling the secular winterfest (natural: cheer ourselves up at the coldest, darkest time of year, the solstice)/shopping con game ‘Holiday’ (big H) and leaving ‘Christmas’ for Christians but see above on know-it-alls.
  • The churchmen quietly keeping Advent strictly Advent (prayer, penance and alms: mini-Lent) and keeping the 12 days of Christmas (me as a kid: ‘Why are they singing Christmas carols in church after Christmas? That’s stupid!’): more power to you.

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