Thursday, February 21, 2008

Truth Is Stranger #73: You know, St. Patrick may drive a snake at you if you honor him over Christ

(Well, it's a fantasy, anyway.)

St. Patrick's Day falls on Monday of Holy Week this year. Let the hand-wringing begin. How dare the Church prefer you to honor Christ over one of his followers! The cheek of it all! Columbus [Ohio], the Shamrock Club is going ahead with its March 17 parade, drawing protests from the local bishop. A handful of Irish-American politicians have lined up behind church leaders, breaking with tradition by refusing to march in the parade.

In a letter last fall, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus told the Shamrock Club, the group that organizes the parade, that Bishop Frederick Campbell wanted "all observances honouring St. Patrick" - religious or otherwise - removed from Holy Week.

"It's not a sin to celebrate your Irish culture," countered Mark Dempsey, the club's president.

"Actually, you're born Irish first," he said, "and then you're baptized Catholic."...

But you can be pretty dense at any age, apparently.

...The United States remains one of the few countries in the world to retain any religious traces of St. Patrick's Day, Cronin said. In Ireland, where the government sponsors the Dublin parade, the holiday has morphed into an arts festival that draws millions of people, he said.

Recognizing that, bishops there have moved the feast of the country's patron saint to March 15 this year. March 17 will remain an official Irish day off work and the Dublin parade will go on as scheduled.

Had Ireland's bishops shown the same insistence as some of their American counterparts, Cronin said, their comments almost certainly would have been ignored.

"It'd be like the (American) bishops arguing to move Super Bowl Sunday," he said....

Look, I like a good party. And I love St. Patrick. Geez, I'm even really, truly part Irish! But priorities people...have a parade the Friday before and do Holy Week right.

Full story here.


Allen said...

Time to reclaim the shamrock as a trinitarian symbol.

Perhaps green beer in lieu of consecrated wine for mass?

Purim, a big drinking & partying holiday for Jews, falls on Good Friday evening/Saturday this year. No wearing masks and booing Haman for me this year, I guess.

sirona said...

I think the bigger underlying issue here is that the Church cannot stand the idea that the actual celebrations in honor of their favored one reflect the practices of the 'snakes' he supposedly drove out of DARE those heathen pagans try to ruin their Week of Holier-Than-Especially-Thou??

The Ironic Catholic said...

Allen--don't go there with the green beer. Ooh, bad, in Catholicland.

Sirona--um, what?

angelmeg said...

NO they can move the parade back a day and have Palms lead the parade. Or would that be too liturgically incorrect?

Helen said...

We use to ask WWJD. How about WWSPD (What Would St. Patrick Do?)? Would he celebrate with green beer and hoopla during the most solemn week of the year? Would he consider himself Irish first (actually he was English, but why quibble) and Catholic afterward? Did he devote himself to green beer? No, he devoted himself to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, and the preaching of His message. He meant to bring Jesus Christ to Ireland, not green beer, for pity's sake!

CMinor said...

I think you were just drive-by'ed by a touchy Wiccan, IC. Might want to let it drop.

Allen, I'm curious--Messianic?

SherryTex said...

But what will all those kids who couldn't out run their parents and had to take Irish Step dancing just like River Dance do if there's no parade? Think of the children...I thought Saint Patrick was Italian for some reason. Off to research the good Saint now...

Allen said...

Not messianic, per se, just very in touch with the Hebrew Bible--and thus the Jewish backgrounds of Christianity.
Thanks for asking, though.

Anonymous said...

St. Patrick is actually my beloved patron, nevertheless I'm in agreement with the re-scheduling this year, because St. Pat would definitely be strongly behind it himself. Before he was Roman, Irish, or whatever, he belonged to Christ. Christ came first with St. Patrick, as He should come first with us all!

Patricia Gonzalez

Kimberly said...

This explains why a completely random and non-churchgoing co-worker walked up to me yesterday and said "Has your priest said anything about postponing St Patricks Day?" I wanted to check the cap on his white out.
Anyway, my husband and I took the other two Irish saints for confirmation names. Y'know...the boring ones. I guess we can celebrate them instead, since there's nothing like a St Patrick's Day parade within 100 miles of here.
I think I need to check the cap on MY white out.

CMinor said...

Thanx, Allen!

Sherrytex, Patrick was a Romanized Briton, from a devout Christian family. He wound up in Ireland as a slave, had a religious experience, escaped home, and returned as a priest to evangelize his former masters.

It seems to have worked.

Angela said...

That would depend if you view St. Patrick's Day as a religious holiday or as just an "Irishness" holiday. I'd never thought of it as a religious holiday until the conflict came up this year- the thought just never occurred to me.

/isn't Catholic though.