A WRITER in the Catholic Mirror, of January 2, 1897, says: “The saddest thing connected with the Christmas season is the terrible and widespread profanation of the holy day.” If Protestant ministers have a right to protest against the profanation of Thanksgiving Day, Roman Catholics certainly have a right to protest against the profanation of Christmas, which is a “holy day” in the calendar of their church. It is certain, too, that Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day stand upon exactly equal footing in respect to their alleged sanctity.
That the “profanation” of Christmas Day and other legal holidays is very bad, is true enough; not, however, because any such day is in any sense holy, but because they are given over by the masses to reveling and drunkenness. As the writer above quoted says: “In every section of our country the papers record melancholy and appalling evidence of drunkenness, debauchery, murder, and crimes of all kinds. A great many people think that Christmas is the period for reviving the Roman Saturnalia, or else they so conduct themselves.”
And what is there strange about this? The Roman Saturnalia just suited the carnal mind back in the days of the Cesars, and why should it not just suit the same mind now? There is as much of that mind in the world to-day as there ever was, and as much of it can be found in professedly Christian communities, as anywhere else.
The trouble is that these legal “holy days” furnish the carnal mind with just the opportunity that it seeks. Let an individual have plenty of good, honest labor to perform, and the carnal propensities will remain comparatively dormant. But shut off this salutary employment of mind and hand, by legal provisions designed to “protect” some “holy” day or holiday, and the carnal mind will at once assert itself wherever it has not been dispossessed by the Spirit of God, and the old saying which connects the devil with “idle hands” will be qualified. The man is exposed to all evil in order to “protect” the day! Better would it be to protect the man than all the days in the calendar.
The more “holy” days and holidays increase, and the more their observance is made compulsory upon the people, the more drunkenness, debauchery, murder, and general lawlessness there will be. And the more honest employment can be provided for the multitudes whose hands are idle, and the more the people are made free to engage in honest work when they want to work, the fewer occasions there will be calling to mind the Roman Saturnalia. The truth of this is so evident that it can be be [sic.] seen by any one who does not feel bound to uphold Sunday laws at whatever cost.