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Christmas: time for Christians to stand up!

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 Contents - Dec 2005AD2000 December 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Christmas: time for Christians to stand up! - Michael Gilchrist
Synod on the Eucharist sets agenda for Benedict's pontificate - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
PRAYER: Melbourne initiative: a spiritual approach can defeat drug addiction - Anh Nguyen
Episcopacy: Archbishop Chaput of Denver: America's plain-speaking Pope's man - Peter J. Boyer
Formation: St John Vianney's blueprint for the priesthood back in favour - Fr John Cihak
The Eucharist: gift of an interventionist God - Chris Hilder
Cinema: New movie's balanced presentation of exorcism: The Exorcism of Emily Rose - Shannon Donahoo (reviewer)
Letters: Medical research - Maureen Federico
Letters: Enneagram - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: Vatican II myths - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Stem cell therapy - Brian Harris
Letters: Evangelisation - Michael Dunlea
Letters: Church architecture - Barry Ireland
Letters: Priestly celibacy - Philip Holberton
Letters: Catholic journal
Letters: EWTN tapes - Daphne Thorose
Books: The Cube and the Cathedral, by George Weigel - John Ballantyne (reviewer)
Books: Good News About Sex And Marriage, by Christopher West - Kerrie Allen
Books: In Memory of Me / Come to Me, My Children, by Christine McCarthy - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Christmas reading from AD Books
Reflection: Journey of the Magi and the search for truth - Cardinal George Pell

Over recent years, there has been a surprising and unexpected - but entirely gratifying - increase in the number of people attending church services at Christmas, including Midnight Mass. They are usually joyful, often prayerful.

This is a far cry from the dismal sentiments expressed by an Australian priest just four years ago. In a letter to fellow priests, he lamented: "You know what the Christmas Masses are like ... Midnight Mass has few kids, but they and some adults are bleary-eyed and yawning. There's also the odd drunk."

This attitude today shows some signs of changing, with many present at Christmas Masses not merely for cultural reasons, or because they want to be present with their families. Among young people, in particular, many are there by themselves. There appears to be a not insignificant shift underway, reflected particularly in the number of young people present, giving thanks for the birth of Jesus Christ, our redeemer.

Yet the secular media and other influential bodies in our community fail to reflect this promising trend.

In the public domain generally, and especially in the worlds of commerce and advertising, the spiritual content of Christmas has all but disappeared. Public apathy or ignorance, it seems, have allowed too many of our decision-makers, organisers or experts to secularise Christmas as they please.

Yet all this occurs in a nation with close to 70 per cent of its population describing themselves as Christian in the Census.

The decision-making elites seek to justify the exclusion of Christian references from public places on the grounds of multiculturalism, and the consequent need to be sensitive to the feelings of the non-Christian minority.

In truth, most non-Christians would expect at least some community acknowledgement of the spiritual significance of Christmas.

Religious believers need to make their views more plain in the media and use their weight of numbers where possible - otherwise the long march of secularisation will continue virtually unopposed.

Michael Gilchrist: Editor (email -

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 11 (December 2005 - January 2006), p. 2

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