Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Advent Wreaths Drive Me Batty....

The Advent Wreath --  It drives me batty, from a liturgical point of view that we're inserting a completely Protestant idea into the Mass.  The advent wreath is Lutheran.  Insofar as this is the case, there is no place for it a Catholic sanctuary, let alone creating some sort of solemn blessing and lighting, as is wont to do in many different Catholic places.  I cannot abide anything Protestant in a Catholic setting.

I suppose that if one wants to have this in their home, c'est la vie.  But, as it is, I am opposed to putting up the Christmas tree before Christmas Eve.  A Christmas Tree should be up for the Christmas season, not Advent and 1 week of is illogical and materialistic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of Christmas, I think that it is the best time of the year.  I love getting together with my family and friends, but I also love Advent.  It creates a great sense of want, which is what it is supposed to do.

But the Advent about we just keep track of the weeks and mark Gaudete Sunday with Rose!!!!!!  That is a wonderful expression of joy in a time of Penance.

 If the Advent Wreath is considered to be part of the "broader sense" as liturgy, then Bugnini and his fellows have accomplished their goals.  The liturgy is the liturgy precisely because it is established formulas, prayers, rites and rubrics.  The liturgy is a definable position governed by laws which the Church put forth.  Not something by which the Protestant idea can be inserted into the Catholic Mass.

If it is desirable that one would like to define all of the Protestant things described as being para-liturgical that's one thing, but to include something which is not Catholic into the liturgy, then that is what makes it illicit.

I do object to Protestant the origins of this being used in a Catholic setting, because in today's world, we are not allowed to make Protestant things Catholic.  We must acknowledge them as Protestant and simply say they are that used in a Catholic setting.  Whereas, in times gone by, the idea of Christmas trees, wreaths, etc...were given a Catholic connotation over time and the non-Catholic or non-Christian view was completely eliminated.  As a matter of fact, making those changes were a way to evangelize non-Christians into becoming Christian.  How is using the Advent Wreath a way to catechize the Lutheran into reverting into being Catholic and where is the concrete application of that, from an authoritative Catholic point of view?  It won't be done, so what's left is to compare apples and oranges and do this in the name of ecumenism.  That simply isn't the case, it is a false sense of ecumenism as defined traditionally in the Church.

 If the Advent Wreath is used to draw people into the liturgical year, then we are using a Protestant idea as a draw, without the catechesis from the Church that was used in years gone by, as with the Christmas tree or other greenery.  The Advent Wreath was not and is not used as a catechetical point, but rather it is used as a decoration with a religious connotation.  And it is that connotation I take issue with, whether it be at home, in a store or in our churches, because that is not authentically Catholic.

This is not a hypothetical "can be done" issue, because we all know that it will not be done in today's arena of Christian political correctness, which dominates the catechetical life of Holy Mother Church.  Had the Advent Wreath taken on a connotation which is inherently Catholic or could be used to provide solid catechetical proofs for the Church, then I would sing a different song.  If the Church can provide sound Catholic catechesis which draws upon the Advent wreath from some source text of the Church, I am open to using it.  If it cannot/will not be done, then the point stands as a general principle for Catholicism.

Ultimately, the question becomes this, "Why should a Catholic family adopt a Protestant idea?"  I said that the family, based upon a mature decision could engage in something like this, but in today's Catholic world the assumption is that the family will not make a mature decision and that the catechesis should be as innocuous and dumbed down as possible, if even used at all.  Often times, the use of a Protestant notion is simply put into practice as being "ecumenical," which completely undermines the traditional understanding of Religious Tolerance, which I have spoken of before.


  1. I know it's been a year since you posted this, but...

    The Advent Wreath was introduced to the USA by German Catholics. Lutherans and Catholics both used it in the Old Country. It became more widespread as American Catholics began sharing customs previously practiced by specific ethnic groups. Many traditionalist Catholics (including sedevacantists like the CMRI) have no problem with this custom.

  2. Thanks for your reply.

    From what I can gather and I did do my homework on this, the Advent wreath is a Lutheran Custom from Germany ostensibly dating from the early 19th century.

    As it is, Catholics in Germany didn't start using it until the 1920s and it eventually came to the US and other parts. Now it has become a mainstay, but my orignial position stands, why are we implementing a Protestant practice without converting it as a tool of proper evangelization?

  3. That is incorrect. Advent wreaths date from the 1600s and no one knows if it was originally catholic or Lutheran, there is much debate. Either way it has been present in both religions, at least in some areas, for around 400 years.