CHRISTIANS should stop using the word Christmas because it has been hijacked by “Santa and reindeer”, an Irish Catholic priest has urged.
Father Desmond O’Donnell said Christians of all denominations should realise that Christmas and Easter no longer has any sacred meaning.
He told the Belfast Telegraph: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.
“I am simply asking that space be preserved for believers for whom Christmas has nothing to do with Santa and reindeer.
“My religious experience of true Christmas, like so many others, is very deep and real – like the air I breathe. But non-believers deserve and need their celebration too, it’s an essential human dynamic and we all need that in the toughness of life.
“I’m just trying to rescue the reality of Christmas for believers by giving up ‘Christmas’ and replacing it with another word.
“I’m all for Christians choosing to celebrate Christmas by going out for meals and enjoying a glass of wine, but the commercialisation of anything is never good.”
Father O’Donnell, a registered psychologist and author, as well as a priest, added he did not intend his statement to be a criticism of non-Christians.
He said that unless Catholicism addressed the reality of what Christmas has come to mean “secularisation and modern life will continue to launder the church”.