An Irish priest has urged Catholics to abandon the word “Christmas”, saying that its meaning has been hijacked.

Fr Desmond O’Donnell told the Belfast Telegraph last week: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely.

“We need to let it go. It’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.”

Fr O’Donnell, who ministers at Cleenish parish near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, said he was “simply asking that space be preserved for believers for whom Christmas has nothing to do with Santa and reindeer”.

“I’m just trying to rescue the reality of Christmas for believers by giving up ‘Christmas’ and replacing it with another word,” he explained.

He also said that “non-believers deserve and need their celebration too – it’s an essential human dynamic and we all need that in the toughness of life”.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection