What would the wise men think?

What would the wise men think?

Some people claim that there is a movement afoot to re-capture the real meaning of Christmas in reaction to the anti-Christmas political correctness we are subjected to. That’s good.

But Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington said something odd in the story and I’m trying to figure out what he means.

“I believe there is a real revival of religion in our country, not just of Christianity, not just of the traditional religions, but of people who really believe in God and may not be able to express it in the words of present-day religion,” the Catholic cleric told “Fox News Sunday.”

Okay, is a theistic, modernist, non-religion spirituality supposed to be a good thing? Is it contributing to a revival of Christmas or is it part of the problem that got us where we are?

Of course, leave it to politicians, even conservative ones, to miss the point while trying to defend it:

Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, was asked during her own appearance on Fox about the political correctness of banning Christmas trees and depictions of the Nativity. Mrs. Cheney said it began with an honest effort by Americans to be polite and considerate and say “season’s greetings” or “happy holidays” because those they greet might not celebrate Christmas.

  • Or as the occultist might say, “Zoroastrian.”  The wise men are in the same category as angels.  A sort of “fits-all” spiritual person.  Those who wish to influence the American religious landscape are comfortable with the wise men.

  • Can one imagine a Prince of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church saying something like this 44 years ago?  What a disgrace!
    This is an example of Ecumania and Indifferentism run wild.  What a wimp!

  • What a missed opportunity Cardinal McCarrick had to evangelize.  Instead he made an observation like an at-arms-length anthropologist.

    People need Jesus.  Glory to God in the highest.

  • Maybe not a wimp.  He says religion is reviving.  He says some of this religion is not Christianity or a Traditional religion.  What does that leave?  Eastern mysticism/New Age?  Yet even Eastern mysticism comes out of a Traditional Eastern religion.  So what is he saying?

    He is right, something IS reviving.  What was the context of his comment?  Did he oppose or condone this other “religion” that is reviving?  Was he neutral to it?  I get the impression from the passage quoted that he sees this growth favorably.

    Maybe indifferentism is not running wild.  Maybe there is an agenda behind Ecumania, and the Cardinal has vaguely hinted at it.  Maybe we are meant to keep the old while adopting the new, and then ultimately, after time passes, retain only the new.  A two-stage introduction of a new theology. 

    There is something subtle and very odd happening.  Last month a press associated with Anthroposophy published a book by a Dominican nun.  The book is an apologetic for Rudolf Steiner according to the title.  In other words Rosicrucianism.  Sometimes known as the Cathar Heresy or Albigensianism or Johannite Christianity.

    Ok, now you can tell me I’m tilting at windmills again.  wink


  • A wise man once said, “Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.” Or to put it more simply, most conspiracy theories are bunk because the supposed conspiracists are too dumb or self-involved or incompetent to be able to do such a thing.

  • I don’t think a bishop gets to be a bishop by being stupid.  I’ll give you self-involved, though.  Certainly pride is a motivating factor well-used by the Chief Conspirator.  Who is also not stupid, I might add.

  • The rest of the story (in between the two paragraphs quoted a the top of this entry):

      Noting the hugely successful movie “The Passion of the Christ” depicting the final hours in the life of Jesus, as well as best-selling editions of Time and Newsweek devoted to Christ’s birth, Cardinal McCarrick said fascination with, and faith in, Jesus continues to grow.

      “There are more than a billion and a half people in the world today who believe in the Lord Jesus,” the cardinal said.

      Even many nonbelievers continue to celebrate Christmas to mark the birth about 2,000 years ago of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe to be the perfect son of God, who later would die on a cross so that God could forgive the sins of mankind.

  • I didn’t read the Time and Newsweek articles but I’ve been told by a source I really trust that if you read them without knowing anything else you’d never find any reason for faith.  A little peculiar to combine them with the “Passion” in a sentence about faith in Jesus…

  • “In what way are the Three Kings ‘multicultural’? They were Persian. That seems monocultural to me.”

    While the Three Kings may actually have been Persian, I believe the Church regards them symbolic of the gentiles to whom Christ was revealed, and therefore has long shown them as representative of the different races of the world.  It may not be historically accurate, but then again, neither is their representation as “kings.”  (The Bible merely says they were magi (translated variously as “astrologers” or “wise men.”)

  • Ok, I’ve done what I should have done yesterday and read the whole article. 

    In context, I like what Cardinal McCarrick had to say (sorry, Dom).  I think he was referring to people who have picked up belief in Jesus from the general culture (which really is still more Christian than anything else), but have not joined a church/particular religion.  Don’t we call them “anonymous Christians” or something like that?

    My experience was that the closer we got to Christmas, the more I heard people in stores say “Merry Christmas.”  During the last couple of days before Christmas, I didn’t hear a “Happy Holidays” anywhere.

    I’ve been blogging about this off and on.  In a comments box a commenter who blogs as a Jew tried to claim in his blog that Christians are blaming the Jews for this war on Christmas.  I probably should have asked him if he thought the ACLU was a Jewish organization, huh?

  • “I don’t think a bishop gets to be a bishop by being stupid.”

    Carrie –

    Smart people often do stupid things.  I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that the bishops don’t do (or haven’t done) stupid things over the past, say, three years or so. 

    Of course, one of the problems has been the failure of the episcopal brotherhood to hold one another individually accountable for most of the stupid, boneheaded, scandalous, [insert your adjective] things they’ve done.

    When running for the Republican presidential nomination years ago, Ronald Reagan once said something to the effect of, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”  Regretfully, while it may be good political advice, it is scandalously poor episcopal advice.

  • Smart people often do devious things.  Especially if they play politics.  Now we could argue about whether that is smart or stupid.  It would depend upon your point of view, I guess.

    The more I look at the scandal, the more I come to the conclusion that it was intentional.  Somebody is out to destroy the Church as we know it.  Maybe a lot of somebodies.  Bella Dodd offered one possible explanation.  I’m sure there are others.