It’s the Summer Solstice!

And because, as we are instructed each Christmas, Catholicism is nothing more or other than warmed-over paganism, that is why the summer solstice is one of the four holiest days on the Christian calendar when the Church celebrates… um… something. It’ll come to me.

Well, anyway… you have to admit that Catholics do hold the autumnal equinox in particular sacred esteem because… um, there’s some feast or other then…

Okay, well anyway, you can’t deny that the holiest day–Easter–is tied to the spring equinox because, um, it’s tied to the Jewish feast of Passover, not a pagan feast at all.

But still and all, Christmas is obviously just a warmed over solstice celebration… except that it’s not.

Moral: When you want to know about Catholic teaching, stop believing what is “common knowledge” and try listening to the Church instead. It turns out Christians have given more thought to their tradition than media dabblers writing under a deadline and regurgitating the first garbage they cut and pasted from Wikipedia.

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  • JB

    But it’s winter down here in the Antipodes.

  • Well it’s my anniversary anyway, and we are catholic, so clearly we are paganesque.

  • Elaine S.

    Actually, the Church DOES celebrate “something” at the summer solstice — the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24), known in days of yore (in the Northern Hemisphere, of course) as “Midsummer Day”. In some Catholic cultures it was considered good luck to take your first trip to the local swimming hole on this day (because of the baptismal symbolism). It also means we’re halfway to next Christmas!

    • Andy, Bad Person

      But the placement of the Nativity of John the Baptist has nothing to do with summer; it has to do with the fact that after the Annunciation (March 25), Mary went and stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for three months until John was born.

      • Meggan

        Yea, but everybody knows that the Church intentionally placed the feast of the Annunciation on March 25 so that the birth of John the Baptist could fall at the Summer Solstice. The Church was always stealing the Pagans’ holidays.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Furthermore, 9 months after the Annuciation is…the Winter Solstice!

          You thought I was going to say Christmas, didn’t you?

    • jacobus

      Indeed, in traditionally Catholic countries, the Nativity of John the Baptist is a very big deal (and a lot of fun).

      • Sal

        We’re having a bonfire- in the grill. There will be S’mores.

  • freddy

    Actually, there is a Really Cool Catholic connection to the summer solstice: on the old calendar, June 24 is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. St. John’s nativity paves the way for Christ’s. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The days grow shorter until Christmas when Christ “increases.”
    Proving nothing more than that the Church is even better than pagans in using nature to tell her story.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Hmm. I think that’s serendipitous rather than deliberate, but wow; that is a very cool connection.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      P.S. It’s not just on the old calendar. This Sunday we celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist in the OF as well.

      • freddy

        I thought so, but I wasn’t sure. Most of the more significant feasts are the same!
        Serendipitous/deliberate = God’s plan. It’s His universe and the more I learn about His Church, the cooler it is!

  • john

    I’ve come to see that paganism (the real stuff…not the neo pagan hippy trash of our current day) seemed to know something…that there was something to be celebrated in relation to the seasons and nature and everything but did not have all the information. They could recognize God’s plan and providence, they just did not yet recognize God. It is only through God’s revelation of Himself that everything begins to make real sense. God seems to have created everything the way that it is for a reason, and even the ebb and flow of nature (the sun and the moon and the stars and their relationship to the earth, the seasons and times) are the way they are to tell us something about God and His relationship with us. I guess you could say that Catholicism brought light and therefore warmth to the shadowy understanding of the world of the pagans…it enlightened their minds and warmed their hearts. So in a way Catholicism looks like warmed over paganism because paganism was in the cold and dark shadow of existence without the knowledge of God.

    • john–
      Nicely put. Thanks for that.

    • Therese Z

      Thanks, John. I understood what you wrote but could never put it into words before.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Yes! Excellently put. The old pagans, rather than their neo-pagan cousins, were honest about their worship of nature, and were still seeking for truth. When the Truth of Christianity came to them, it fulfilled the smaller truths with which they were already familiar.

      Was it Belloc, or Chesterton, or Mark, or somebody else to whom it has been misattributed that said it?
      “Remember that the last thing the pagans did was convert to Christianity.”

    • Sal

      This is lovely, John. As a devoted gardener, I see this, but could not express it as well as you did.

    • kenneth

      And inside every African “savage” is an Englishman screaming to get out. The Catholic apologetics view on history has chutzpah. I’ll give it that!

      • Implied racism. Nice. Next we will hear about the abuse scandal and how every priest is secretly an abuser. Called it.

        • kenneth

          You’re the only one beating the abuse drum here. There’s an element of arrogance in that scandal as well, but I see that as an arrogance born of institutional culture, not theology. For the record too, I’ve never asserted that every priest is an abuser. Far from it. I believe it’s a distinct minority, probably consistent with every other profession that affords abusers access to children. The abuse problem largely derived from a small minority of abusing priests and a near-universal failure of bishops to deal with them.

          • Gary Keith Chesterton

            In this respect Kenneth and I are — for once — in complete agreement.

      • john

        Yes I would agree that the Catholic view has chutzpah…but we are claiming nothing for ourselves. We do not claim to have caused any of this…we just claim that God has created a world according to His own plan, and that He has lovingly let us in on some of what he is up to. We do not think that He has humbled Himself due to any merit of ours…quite the opposite…He did so out of a purely merciful love. We claim no exclusivity to this knowledge and understanding…it is there for all to see and enjoy…we only claim exclusivity in the sense that theer can be only one truth about how the world is.

  • Will

    Most climate scientists believe in climate chage. Perhaps we should question this solstice stuff too.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “Most climate scientists believe in climate chage.” This is hilarious, whether or not that was the intention.

      • Will

        It is true though. Check it out!

        • Will

          The “change” part.

          • ivan_the_mad

            Oh no, I know climate change does happen. It’s the “believe” bit. I didn’t know that it required faith 😛

          • Ted Seeber

            The change part is clear. What isn’t so clear is either the directions of change nor the cause.

    • Mark Shea

      I “believe in” climate change. That is, I believe climate changes. That’s what climate does. I am also struck by the language of faith constantly deployed when it comes to climate change. People don’t speak of “believing in” hydraulics, or thermal convection, or nuclear fission. But climate language is habitually wrapped in the language of faith. Why might that be?

      • Observer

        It’s an undoing of capturing what God has made. Now, men are simply in revolt against God’s creation. Where at first men worshipped it. Now, he his convinced he can actually undo what God has created. So, with his new silly superstition, he pursues to enlighten all of how he (and others) are able to cause change by doing damage so far as to actually remove an existence of both earth and sky. A new persuasion which makes the sophists, earlier philosophers, and pagan worshippers appear far much more wiser and certainly more sane (which by comparison, they were and are.) And that is his persuasion he has persuaded other men to have power to undo all of God’s creation. And in particular, he can undo His seasons and feasts because of it. Man has now become a distraction so much which no one can focus on giving thanks to God. But rather, he can only feel a pressing cross on his shoulders of trying to save earth and sky.

        • kenneth

          So being worried about the possible effects of humanity’s own short-sighted and stupid behavior is “a revolt against God”? Man-made climate change is not faith at all. It’s pure science, and the baseline premise of the work has been accepted even by Big Oil.

          The only element of “faith”, or rather, speculation, is what this change will mean for us. Will it be a little bad, catastrophic, or just a slight exaggeration of the normal roller coaster of nature? We don’t know, because we’ve never played around with the controls of an entire planet before. We do know that when nature enters these tipping points of ocean temperature, chemistry, etc., that the cycles take centuries and more to play out. The best case scenario is that it will severely tax the energy and food and water resources of a world that doesn’t really have a lot of spare capacity right now and will introduce a lot of uncertainty into economies that really, really don’t need anymore of that.

          The question isn’t about “saving the Earth, or sky.” It’s our own hides. If it goes bad, really bad, the Earth will survive just fine. It’s rolled along with no oxygen in the atmosphere, and with solid ice sheets covering entire continents. We, on the other hand, are totally dispensable to the Earth, as is every species.

          The whole climate change issue has assumed a quasi-religious character and a dogmatism, and that’s unfortunate, but perhaps understandable when we consider the magnitude of our gamble. Humanity is playing a game of Russian Roulette with itself, playing with a gun that might have six chambers, or 10,000, for all we know. All the while, they guys who have a huge financial stake in maximizing the risks, the same guys who derailed the world’s economy, are saying “trust us, dude, we know what we’re doing.” If skepticism if these fools is a rebellion against God, then He needs to hire some better help.

          • ivan_the_mad

            “Man-made climate change is not faith at all. It’s pure science, and the baseline premise of the work has been accepted even by Big Oil.”

            I love the “pure science” bit. Having made a career in scientific companies, I’ve yet to find any such thing. That aside, there’s a world of difference between saying climate change is occurring and man has contributed to it, and climate change is occurring and man is the sole cause of it. Also, Big Oil is totally an authority in this matter *rolls eyes*.

            “The best case scenario is that it will severely tax the energy and food and water resources of a world that doesn’t really have a lot of spare capacity right now and will introduce a lot of uncertainty into economies that really, really don’t need anymore of that.”

            Depends on who you talk to. Original estimates (by predator-prey models) said 1.6bn. Clearly, they were wrong. Statements like that don’t take into account advancements in science (for instance, modern aquaponics) that drastically improve yield while decreasing resources required for the same. In fact, you might go so far as to say folks who hold to that have no faith in the power of modern science 😉 Others think that’s so much rubbish.

            Tweak the variables in your program a bit and two people with the same data can arrive at radically different conclusions. Bottom line: Anyone who claims to know what’s going to happen regarding climate change really doesn’t.

          • Ted Seeber

            The only reason why the world has no spare capacity, is because ONE set of countries is using 40x the resources per capita to live it up in luxury while the rest of the world grinds in hopeless poverty.

      • Observer

        Insanity becomes his only purpose and plight because he is trying to become a superhero to lift earth and sky. Man is now becoming a nut.

  • Andrew

    Easter is the first Sunday after the first FULL MOON after the VERNAL EQUINOX.



  • Ted Seeber

    Jaanipaav- or at least so the Estonian Catholics tell me. The Feast of St. John. I’ve never looked up WHICH St. John. But since my sister-in-law sings with Estonians and my nephew is named John and his birthday is this week, my family celebrates Jaanipaav- usually with fishing in the pond and a treasure hunt, though the duckweed was a bit too thick this year, and John was old enough to want to do a swords-and-sorcery themed capture the flag game instead (with nerf swords, bows, and arrows with tennis balls on the tips…guess it isn’t any worse than the BB Gun Tag my friends and I used to play as kids).

    • Ted Seeber

      Should have read the above- probably John the Baptist, though the feast of St. John Fisher also fits.

  • Perhaps part of what we should be doing is to upgrade what Wikipedia says about Christianity? It’s not like a sophisticated campaign to ensure the truth is told couldn’t overwhelm the anti-christians who try to sneak in disparaging falsehoods.

  • Traditionally, the Church did observe the changing of the seasons with special liturgies. One of the biggest losses when the Church issued the revamped calendar in 1970 was the loss of the Ember Weeks/Days: four periods of the year (After September 14, after the Feast of St. Lucy in December, the first full week following Ash Wednesday, and after Whitsunday in spring) of fasting and abstainance, in which the Church offered up thanksgiving for the season just past, and asked for blessings for the season just beginning.

    In each Ember Week, the Ember Days were Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Saturdays of the Ember Weeks were also when priests were ordained.

    “All time belongs to Christ,” the priest says at the Easter Vigil. Thus, the Church has never had any problem with observing the changing seasons with special liturgies, feasts, and fasts — and if the birthday of a really cool saint concides with a certain time of year (like the Nativity of St. John the Baptist at Midsummer), all the better.

    Nowhere else but in the Catholic Church will you find a proper perspective on the respect for and enjoyment of creation and the seasons.

  • Heather Price

    But the day after the Summer Solstice we’re celebrating the Fortnight for Freedom! Coincidence? I think not!

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I don’t believe in coincidences, especially not in the presence of so much alliteration.

  • Observer

    My Grandma’s birthday. Pray for her and me that I may a joy to her.

  • Laura Kazlas

    “Climate change is habitually wrapped on the language of faith. Why that might be?”

    Jesus taught us to look at the tender branches and leaves beginning to sprout on the fig tree as a sign that summer is coming and he connected that with watching for signs that the end times are near.

    The church has always used visible signs to teach the faith, images of the light of the world returning to a darkened church at the Easter vigil, for an example. The harvest season, and God gathering his children into his Kingdom is another example.

  • Observer

    To exclude the scientist and say, “pure science” is a fallacy. A scientist is a person and human being. He is prone to error. Does he actually think his mind can wrap around thousands and millions of years through the extent of creation, and come up with a solid answer to solve what amounts to stopping warming and so forth? It’s absurd. No man can – that’s why you have scientists and not a scientist – know everything and every bit of detail regarding all created things. A man who acts on pure science is not uncapable of making an error.

    Certainly having each person cross check their findings and evaluating evidence to suggest certain area’s where there is merit to the claim is quite reasonable.However, man cannot stand above all things studied under classifications of biology, meteorology, geology, paleantolog (I’m sure I mispelled the word here), geography, study of cultures (I forgot the term), and so forth are much more broader than studying one particular area (say metoerology and biology) to draw a conclusion into everything else to prove your point (to prove from studying culture, geology, and geography all must coincide with findings in most recent research pertaining to warming being observed within a biological evaluation as well as meteorlogical one.)

    The point being is a man who acts as a scientist is capable of making an error in the rushed approach of research to prove his findings (in order to prove his conclusion – what he particularly believes. Even though he has’t existed the entire time space, time, earth, the moon, starts, planets, celestial spheres, galaxies, and etc. have been around millions and billions of years beyond the stretch of his existence.) Thus, similar to a prosecutor who wants to rush due process of law (using methods outside of the protocol in handling evidence – crossing DNA in cold case files or mis-use of evidence which puts a innocent person in jail or to death), a man who feels his pure scientific background enables an errorless track to rush progress in scientific research to do justice pursuing his own aim (to make people convinced he is right.)