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Camden New Journal - By CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 3 January 2008

Father Andrew Cain
Modern Christmas ‘demonic’, declares midnight mass priest

Clergyman tells congregation festive season has been lost to over-consumption

A PRIEST has described the spending frenzy and over-eating associated with Christmas as “demonic”.
Father Andrew Cain from St Mary with All Souls Kilburn church in Abbey Road made the comment during a midnight mass service on Christmas Eve.
He told the congregation he felt the Christian meaning behind Christmas had been virtually lost in a culture that focused on festive excess.
He said: “Our culture’s idea of Christmas is all about spending, buying, getting more stuff. It’s about rewards and punishments, based on worthiness – pressies for the good and coal for the bad. How much can you afford, how much dare you spend, how big a turkey, goose or ham can you cram in your oven? It is almost demonic.”
Fr Andrew said he was not arguing against having fun at Christmas, but that it should be done within context.
“Gifts are a part of Christmas, and feasting and celebration is ok, but it is not an end in itself,” he said. “God wants us to enjoy oneself, but it should be a response to the gift of God rather than be the alternative.”
Fr Andrew said his sermon was inspired by an early-morning walk on Boxing Day last year when he came across a discarded tree at 9.30am.
“I suppose, of course, that I shouldn’t have been saddened or surprised,” he said. “It makes sense, you see, in our culture. It makes sense that a Christmas season that starts, at latest, in October and builds into a consumer frenzy in early December should come to a crashing climax immediately after the day itself.
“Of course, for the Church, this instant abandonment of something for the next big thing – the new year – is not what we celebrate liturgically at Christmas. In fact, the Church has been giving a message against the whole Christmas frenzy of the last few weeks.”
Fr Andrew, who has been at St Mary’s for 10 years and was promoted to the role of area dean of north Camden three months ago, reminded his congregation that the 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day.
According to tradition, the tree should be discarded on the Twelfth Night, January 6.
He told the New Journal he ad-libbed the word “demonic” during his sermon and that it was not written into his speech. “As I was reading it out [the description I gave] struck me as being the antithesis of what is Godly and the opposite of what the Church is teaching us,” he said. “It’s all about consumption and self rather than consideration for others.”

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