Terry Mattingly at Get Religion found a story by Terri Jo Ryan in the Waco Tribune-Herald that may be the just the first signal of another saddening, secularizing trend: the sensitivity police changing the name of Saint Patrick’s Day. It might be offensive to someone, somewhere to discuss saints or great Christian missionaries like Patrick:
Faith and begorrah, is nothing sacred?
Some folks are trying to transform the name of Tuesday’s holiday from St. Patrick’s Day to "Shamrock Day."
Card shops have banners proclaiming the occasion; the Disney Channel is using the term; and some places in this country have changed the name of their community celebrations of Celtic heritage to the "nonoffending" terminology.
In Ryan’s story, the local experts in Waco were appalled
"I’m afraid I could use all kinds of expressions that wouldn’t be principled to describe this trend," said Monsignor Mark Deering, 88, senior-most Catholic cleric in these parts.
Deering, retired pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church of Waco, came here from Ireland in 1953 as a freshly minted missionary priest and never left.
"I don’t think that would ever be a success to call it Shamrock Day," he said.
People the world over, of every culture and race, enjoy being Irish for the day, he added. And he said he’s heard no one take great umbrage before at having a Christian saint’s name attached to the day of merriment.
"In fact, in New York City, when the parade comes down Fifth Avenue, the Jews take more joy in it than almost anyone," Deering said.
But the organizers of Shamrock Day celebrations, such as the Habitot Children’s Museum in California, cite the need for "cultural diversity to our audience without broaching religious boundaries."
"A number of modern-day celebrations have their origins in religious holidays but have become broadly celebrated by everyone. Halloween and Mardi Gras are prime examples," the Habitot spokeswoman said, as reported on CustosFidei.blogspot.com on March 14, 2007.
Say hi to Tito if you hang out at Custos Fidei. Mattingly concluded:
So if this is a trend or even a mini-trend, where is the national coverage? Put this up on the Drudge Report or let Chris Matthews tee off on it and we’d have a firestorm, especially if President Barack Obama were to take a shot at this topic during one of his scheduled meetings today with Irish-American leaders.
I'll end with the joke I made at lunch with my co-workers the other day. As one of them expressed disgust at Obama offering Britain's leader some DVDs (which may not even work in European DVD players), they wondered what the Irish leaders would get.
"A box of Lucky Charms," I suggested.