An Irish Catholic priest has called for Christians to stop using the word Christmas because it has been hijacked by “Santa and reindeer”, the media reported on Saturday.
Father Desmond O’Donnell said Christians of any denomination need to accept Christmas now has no sacred meaning, reports the Guardian.
O’Donnell’s comments follow calls from a right-wing pressure group for a boycott of Greggs bakery in the UK after the company replaced baby Jesus with a sausage roll in a nativity scene.
“We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely,” O’Donnell said.
“We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.”
O’Donnell said he was not seeking to disparage non-believers. “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.”
A registered psychologist and author, O’Donnell said the meaning of Christmas had eroded over time and become commercialised.