David Gibson writing in the Wall Street Journal notes the decline in church attendance on Christmas.  While he makes the point that Christmas occuring on a Sunday this year presents a dilemma for believers (whether to go to church vs sleep in and open gifts),  for Catholics, Christmas should be a dilemma every year as it is a holy day of obligation regardless of whether it occurs on a Sunday.

Mr. Gibson observes two disturbing trends as it relates to accommodating Christmas worship to secular consumerism:

1) As noted in Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic churches celebrate the Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord earlier and earlier each year (now as early as the late afternoon) with “Midnight Mass” now, if you’re lucky, indicating the time mass is over rather than when it begins.  In fact, OSV notes many Catholic parishes trimmed the number of Sunday masses offered on Christmas day.

2) Protestant churches weren’t even open on Christmas.

Mr. Gibson sums up the issue with saying, “Perhaps it’s a bit puritanical to insist that believers dump their cherished family traditions to march off to church on Christmas morning. But it’s also self-defeating to complain about keeping Christmas holy when churches close on Dec. 25.”

Jesuit Father John Baldovin, a professor of historical and liturgical theology at Boston College provides the least inspiring comment in the OSV article, “People have decided more and more that Christmas Day is a family day,” Father Baldovin said. “People want to get up and open their packages that day.”

OTRITT readers:

Which Catholic Churches in the archdiocese of Cincinnati (AOC) celebrated Christmas Eve mass in the afternoon?

Which Protestant communities in the area of the AOC were closed on Christmas?

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