Catholic Church Calls for Christmas to be Abolished: 'Families Have Hijacked It'
Demands new holiday to be introduced that's 'more inclusive' for all religions
The Catholic Church has called for the traditional Christian celebration of Christmas to be abolished after claims it has been "hijacked by families."
Dublin-based Catholic priest Father Desmond O’Donnell has said that Christmas has "lost all meaning" after it has been "hijacked" by families who prefer to spend time with loved ones rather than honor the birth of Jesus Christ.
"We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon it completely,” O’Donnell told the Belfast Telegraph.
"We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognize and accept that."
This announcement comes just after Pope Francis said that Christmas needs to become "more inclusive" to other religions during an interview with Vatican Radio, the Catholic Church's official mouthpiece.
He told the host that the name Christmas has become "prejudice" toward other religions and that the church must "move with the times and become more liberal."
Father O’Donnell, who has published books about Christianity, was keen to dispel the idea that the church is a Grinch-like figure who wants to cancel Christmas.
"I am not seeking to take anything away from anyone, I am simply asking that space be preserved for all believers," he said
"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."
The clergyman conceded that many Christians wouldn't want to abandon Christmas but warned that the push was being ushered in from the top, and that refusal to accept it will have consequences.
"It will mean that secularisation and modern life will continue to launder the Church," he said.
"It will start to institutionally break down, I've already seen it happening around the world in Malta, Poland, and Uruguay, and it's starting to happen in Ireland.
"It's like watching the same movie over and over again - the Protestant Churches are battling too."
The Pope and Father O’Donnell’s comments come after the popular British bakery Greggs was forced to make a public apology after replacing baby Jesus with a sausage roll in a nativity scene promoting its new advent calendar.