Defending the … faith?

Defending the … faith?

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles leapt to action this week when a priest of the archdiocese denied an immemorial teaching held and cherished by generations of people around the world. Unfortunately, it’s not what you would have hoped.

A priest at a parochial school told students that there is no Santa Claus. Granted it doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do, but is it really the end of the word? To put it another way, when Catholic politicians are keeping abortion legal and creating gay marriage and your bishop is being sued for hundreds of millions for shuffling pervert priests around so they can abuse more kids, is this really something the archdiocese needs to be dealing with?

“There’s a time and place for everything, and this was not the time or the place or the age group to be talking about the true meaning of Christmas, at least in terms that young children cannot understand,’ Tamberg said.

So, according to the official spokesman of the archdiocese, a Catholic grade school is not the place to talk about the true meaning of Christmas? When and where exactly is it?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
24 comments
  • During the Mass, school officials admit, the Rev. Ruben Rocha repeatedly told the students in grades K-3 that there is no Santa Claus.

    Good for Father Rocha! I disagree with you Domenico. It seems like a very intelligent thing to do.

    A stupid thing to do—and my parents, God bless ‘em, did it, even to the point of eating the cookies I left out for the non-existent fat man—is to participate in the myth o’ the “Jolly Ol’ Elf.”

    Present him as a symbol. Tell ‘em about Saint Nicholas. But to keep on bribing kids by using a non-existent creature (“be good or Santa won’t bring you presents [that we already bought]”) is flat out stupid.

    The Archdiocese should, in my opinion, simply state: “Father Rocha told the truth” and be done with it.

    Kelly <———-does, however, believe that we’d “better be good for goodness’ sake” wink

  • When I said it wasn’t a smart thing to do, I was thinking that he should have been aware of the inevitable repercussions. And really, isn’t that decision up to the parents? We have enough instances of big institutions, like government, trying to take over parenting. I don’t think it makes sense for the priest to tread here. Now, if he had the parents in there and gave them the same harangue, I think that would have been smarter.

  • When I said it wasn’t a smart thing to do, I was thinking that he should have been aware of the inevitable repercussions. And really, isn’t that decision up to the parents? We have enough instances of big institutions, like government, trying to take over parenting. I don’t think it makes sense for the priest to tread here. Now, if he had the parents in there and gave them the same harangue, I think that would have been smarter.

  • And really, isn beauty and splendor of the Nativity. The Holy Spirit would have enkindled in the little hearts a love for God who blessed us with His Son. In time and with proper Catholic instruction this would naturally usurp Santa.

    The Archdiocese is focusing on a hangnail while the heart is hemorrhaging.

  • Instead of telling children, who love Santa Claus, that he doesn’t exist and ending it there, why not take advantage of a teaching moment and tell them that this the story of Santa Claus finds its roots in St. Nicholas. Why wade in with a sledgehammer on this issue, just so you can feel good about your orthodoxy?

    Sorry, Peter, but you are just wrong. The picture of Santa in a bright red suit was an image created by Coca Cola, a long time ago, but the myth has Christian roots.

  • Uh…children SHOULDN’T “love Santa Claus.”

    And the “Saint Nicholas” connection has been polluted to death.

    Kelly <———-fully expects a lump o’ coal in her stocking wink

  • Uh…children SHOULDN’T “love Santa Claus.”

    And the “Saint Nicholas” connection has been polluted to death.

    Kelly <———-fully expects a lump o’ coal in her stocking wink

  • Are we laying bets—I say Kelly Clark has no children, or at least found out embarassingly late that there was no Santa.  Leave the Santa deconstruction to parents.  Dom is right.  It’s not as bad as nuclear war, but the priest overstepped here.

  • Are we laying bets—I say Kelly Clark has no children, or at least found out embarassingly late that there was no Santa.  Leave the Santa deconstruction to parents.  Dom is right.  It’s not as bad as nuclear war, but the priest overstepped here.

  • “but the priest overstepped here.”

    Okay, I give up. (Not.)

    When a priest tells the truth, he “oversteps.” Let’s all remember that when a priest tells the truth about other stuff. When parents tell their kids lies, don’t those priests DARE to correct them.

    And you’re right, Patrick. I have borne no children. (I would have born two, but no priest “overstepped” in time to tell me to save them.)

    You win, folks. Santa Claus lives! And now you can sleep conscience-free, knowing that no priest can keep you from lying to your kids.

    It’s all so much easier that way, after all.

    Rest, so to speak, in peace. And have a holly, jolly Christmas. Or, to make it easier for you, have a merry Santa Claus Day.

    And may Rudolph (he of the red nose) lead you to the truth. That XMAS is all about some fat bastard and, incidentally, some kid of note (who was it?) was born, coincidentally, on the same day.

    Kelly <——-who’d better not pout wink

  • “but the priest overstepped here.”

    Okay, I give up. (Not.)

    When a priest tells the truth, he “oversteps.” Let’s all remember that when a priest tells the truth about other stuff. When parents tell their kids lies, don’t those priests DARE to correct them.

    And you’re right, Patrick. I have borne no children. (I would have born two, but no priest “overstepped” in time to tell me to save them.)

    You win, folks. Santa Claus lives! And now you can sleep conscience-free, knowing that no priest can keep you from lying to your kids.

    It’s all so much easier that way, after all.

    Rest, so to speak, in peace. And have a holly, jolly Christmas. Or, to make it easier for you, have a merry Santa Claus Day.

    And may Rudolph (he of the red nose) lead you to the truth. That XMAS is all about some fat bastard and, incidentally, some kid of note (who was it?) was born, coincidentally, on the same day.

    Kelly <——-who’d better not pout wink

  • Kelly Clark may not have any children, but I have five, and I agree that it’s a bad idea to deliberately tell children stories that we know to be at variance with truth (perhaps justifying our deception by employing the kind of strict mental reservation that the moral theology manuals tell us isn’t permissible).

    When we spoke of Santa Claus to our children, we always made sure that the tongue was pretty obviously in our cheek, and I don’t think anyone’s Christmas joy was lessened.  Of course, we told them about St. Nicholas, and made sure they knew that he was a very real, historical person who once lived in Myra and now lived in Heaven after a lifetime of service to the Child whose birth we observe on Christmas.

    (BTW, we also make sure that St. Nicholas visits on December 6 and leaves lots of gelt (in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in foil) for the Kinder.)

  • Kelly Clark may not have any children, but I have five, and I agree that it’s a bad idea to deliberately tell children stories that we know to be at variance with truth (perhaps justifying our deception by employing the kind of strict mental reservation that the moral theology manuals tell us isn’t permissible).

    When we spoke of Santa Claus to our children, we always made sure that the tongue was pretty obviously in our cheek, and I don’t think anyone’s Christmas joy was lessened.  Of course, we told them about St. Nicholas, and made sure they knew that he was a very real, historical person who once lived in Myra and now lived in Heaven after a lifetime of service to the Child whose birth we observe on Christmas.

    (BTW, we also make sure that St. Nicholas visits on December 6 and leaves lots of gelt (in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in foil) for the Kinder.)

  • (I should have mentioned that the gelt is placed in bags, like the bags of coins that St. Nicholas is said to have tossed through the window to provide for the dowries of the three young girls.  We don’t vouch for the historicity of that story to our children, however.)

  • (I should have mentioned that the gelt is placed in bags, like the bags of coins that St. Nicholas is said to have tossed through the window to provide for the dowries of the three young girls.  We don’t vouch for the historicity of that story to our children, however.)

  • Patrick,

    I don’t think Seamus an I are in disagreement at all. He may disagree with me, but I find his treatment of Saint Nicholas wonderful. (I especially like the gelt part.)

    But, as you say, that isn’t really the issue. Just to sum up:

    Who IS in disagreement with me (besides the commenters on this thread) include:

    1.) The Archdiocese of L.A.

    (“There’s a time and place for everything, and this was not the time or the place or the age group to be talking about the true meaning of Christmas…”)

    2.) Evidently Father Rocha himself:

    (“In addition, Rocha issued a written apology to parents that was sent home with the students at the end of the day.)

    Parents such as Rick Martin:

    (“Now my daughter doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. She sees him, and she knows it’s a costume. What happens when we go to the mall this year? It’ll just be a costume to her,’ Martin added. “I’ve just been let down by this whole deal.”)

    3.) 100% of the people I’ve spoken with on this today.

    (“Sheesh, Kelly. And I suppose you’d defend that nasty Father What’s-His-Name who callously ended our Annual Easter Bunny Party for the kids, too!”)

    So there you have it. The results from this, admittedly unscientific poll, are in. Nobody agrees with me on this matter.

    It happens.

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an important letter to write.

    Kelly <———-anybody know what the postage is from, say, Boston to the North Pole? wink

  • Patrick,

    I don’t think Seamus an I are in disagreement at all. He may disagree with me, but I find his treatment of Saint Nicholas wonderful. (I especially like the gelt part.)

    But, as you say, that isn’t really the issue. Just to sum up:

    Who IS in disagreement with me (besides the commenters on this thread) include:

    1.) The Archdiocese of L.A.

    (“There’s a time and place for everything, and this was not the time or the place or the age group to be talking about the true meaning of Christmas…”)

    2.) Evidently Father Rocha himself:

    (“In addition, Rocha issued a written apology to parents that was sent home with the students at the end of the day.)

    Parents such as Rick Martin:

    (“Now my daughter doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. She sees him, and she knows it’s a costume. What happens when we go to the mall this year? It’ll just be a costume to her,’ Martin added. “I’ve just been let down by this whole deal.”)

    3.) 100% of the people I’ve spoken with on this today.

    (“Sheesh, Kelly. And I suppose you’d defend that nasty Father What’s-His-Name who callously ended our Annual Easter Bunny Party for the kids, too!”)

    So there you have it. The results from this, admittedly unscientific poll, are in. Nobody agrees with me on this matter.

    It happens.

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an important letter to write.

    Kelly <———-anybody know what the postage is from, say, Boston to the North Pole? wink

  • Padraiq,

    Either you read it wrong or I’m mistaken about what the word “disagrees” means.

    I got a 100% response rate of people in DISAGREEMENT with me. In other words, the consensus is that I Am Wrong.

    And I fully deserve and expect my lumps…coal and otherwise.

  • Padraiq,

    Either you read it wrong or I’m mistaken about what the word “disagrees” means.

    I got a 100% response rate of people in DISAGREEMENT with me. In other words, the consensus is that I Am Wrong.

    And I fully deserve and expect my lumps…coal and otherwise.

  • Kelly,
    I just have to add, that for once I agree with you. And much because of what Padraig had to say-with all that’s going on the ArchDio chose to berate this priest who I’m sure meant well? To tell them the truth about St Nick? What silliness.

    I wasn’t raised to believe in Santa Claus. It was always a kind of joke, a silly thing. Early on I do remember my parents telling us about St Nick and that they are for all intents and purposes the same thing.  I still get presents from “Santa Claus”, but more as a silly goofy tradition we’ve always played with.

    PS We celebrate St Nicholas day as well, which means more treats for me!!oh and the 12 days of Christmas. 

  • Kelly,
    I just have to add, that for once I agree with you. And much because of what Padraig had to say-with all that’s going on the ArchDio chose to berate this priest who I’m sure meant well? To tell them the truth about St Nick? What silliness.

    I wasn’t raised to believe in Santa Claus. It was always a kind of joke, a silly thing. Early on I do remember my parents telling us about St Nick and that they are for all intents and purposes the same thing.  I still get presents from “Santa Claus”, but more as a silly goofy tradition we’ve always played with.

    PS We celebrate St Nicholas day as well, which means more treats for me!!oh and the 12 days of Christmas. 

  • “Theremment_id>

    maryidunn@yahoo.com

    64.12.96.75
    2004-11-22 23:06:16
    2004-11-23 03:06:16
    Sklystad’s comment hit me exactly the same way, Dom. 

    What did he know, when did he know it and how did he respond to complaints about one Rev. Patrick Gerald O’Donnell?

    I think we need to know a little more than just “I wish I could recall more clearly conversations and events that happened three decades ago,” in regard to questions about a pedophile priest, one Patraick Gerald O’Donnell and the way Skylstad responded to warnings and written letters from parishioners.  It seems to me that he should at least remember someone who molested at least 30 boys, some just a floor below his own rooms in the rectory.

    I think there will be more to come on this as lawsuits progress.

    Sister M. Immaculata Dunn

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