Sunday 19 December 2010

Nativity Seen

There is simply no point in any dramatic depiction of The Nativity unless it is a dramatisation of the Biblical account. Why would anyone want to watch anything else? The BBC has already made this mistake with The Passion. Is the latest one also an HBO co-production? Are the BBC and HBO going out of their way to bring out the worst stereotypes about Jewish media London and Jewish media New York? They should know better. Nor did the presenter on yesterday's Saturday Live pick up a Pagan on his endless totally false statements, one of which was that the eating of ham was in and of itself a Pagan custom carried over into Christianity. I kid you not.

Oh, well, since clearly we have to, here we go again. Catholicism is the fullness of the recapitulation in Jesus Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire, each of which now exists only as Christianity, of which Catholicism is the plenitude. Judaism and Islam are Semitic reactions against this, the former no less than the latter, and if anything even more so, since it explicitly denies even Prophethood to Jesus. There are also reactions by ostensible appeal to the Classical tradition apart from the Church without which, as much as anything else, that literature would have been entirely lost.

And the initial recapitulation makes possible the endless identification and inclusion of the (ontologically identical) true, good and beautiful elsewhere, a making possible which depends on the loss of no part of the fundamental Biblical-Classical synthesis. Neither Christmas nor Easter derives from any pagan festival at all. It matters not a jot that, uniquely, the English word for Christ's Passover has such an origin, and it is only to be expected that they meet the human need for winter and spring festivals respectively. That need is of God, and it is for God. God duly provides for it by, in, through and as His Church.

Of course churches throughout the world, and not least throughout Europe, are built on converted communities' pre-existing holy sites. Of course there are shrines of Our Lady and the Saints where once were centred the cults of all manner of Saint Paul's elemental spirits, which are Saint John's fallen angels. Even if certain folkloric practices may, in some corrected form, have been carried over, nevertheless no properly instructed member of the Church would thus be practising any such cult, while the Church, as such, actually cannot do so. There are, however, no such folkoric continuations in these Islands. As it happens, next to nothing is known of the pre-Christian religions here, and the charge of paganism is a purely Protestant one against things that are Medieval, and usually Late Medieval at that.

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