Letter: Festival for pagans and viewers

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From Fr. Dominic Kirkham

Sir: The variety of interesting views expressed by your correspondents about Christmas must surely persuade us that we have all inherited a unique festival through a long, complex process of cultural osmosis and syncretism, which gives space for everyone and everything.

The process is both ironic and subtle: ironic in that the Church, once mocked by pagans (cf Celsus) for having no great festivals, sacral cults, altars or priesthood, should now find roles reversed; subtle, in that so-called latter-day pagans or secularists should want to affirm what is central to the mystery - the value of family and friendship, generosity and benevolence, the social need for peace and reconciliation.

Here is a unique festive time, a cultural event in which all of any faith - or none - can share in some degree. If this leaves would-be purists or cynics, zealots or iconoclasts disappointed, then first they should tell us of a better alternative for a fragmented, post-modern society, which makes room (at the inn) for all.

Yours festively,

Dominic Kirkham

Corpus Christi Priory

Manchester

24 December

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