Fri | Oct 19, 2018

You've got it wrong on Christmas

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I am writing in response to the article captioned 'The arrogance of knowledge', published in The Gleaner of Friday, December 18, 2015. In the article, your columnist, Roman Catholic deacon, Peter Espeut, asserts: "Christian celebration of Christmas predates the pagan celebration of the (sun god) promulgated only in 274AD."

This sounded quite strange to me, so I consulted The 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia on line. It declares itself to be "the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history and information ever gathered in all of human history". There, I found the following:

"The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 was in 336AD during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on December 25."

Could the goodly deacon kindly explain on the basis of authority the historical antecedents of Emperor Constantine's December 25 observance and why it would not be fair inference to state that Pope Julius' declaration constituted concession to a pagan festival?