Is Santa Satanic?
The Cult of Saint Nicholas vs the Cult of “Santa”
In Holy Mother Church we speak of the “cultus” or “cult” of a Saint which is a term from the Latin word colere, which means to devote care to a person or thing and thus to venerate or worship (in the old English sense, i.e. not latria, but only dulia). Thus the cult of a Saint is the official worship of that Saint as approved by Holy Mother Church in the Sacred Liturgy (Holy Mass and the Divine Office) and other devotions.
On the 6th of December each year we honor in a particular way the cultus of that wonderful and great Bishop of Myra: Saint Nicholas.
There are few Saints of Holy Mother Church who have been so universally venerated both in the East and in the West as the great Bishop of Myra. The great devotion to him throughout the centuries is attested to in some detail by the Venerable Abbot Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B. in the first volume of his magnificent work: The Liturgical Year. This alone can attest to the fact that he was one of the holiest Saints the Church has ever seen, but of course we have a multitude of evidence of his holiness of life that have been passed down through the centuries.
One of the great events in the life of Saint Nicholas was his participation in the Council of Nicaea. He was one of the many Bishops that attended that first great Ecumenical Council to combat the first great Hersey of Arianism which denied the very divinity of Christ. While many of the Eastern Bishops sadly followed the Heresiarch Arius, Saint Nicholas stood alongside the likes of Saint Alexander of Alexandria and his successor the very Father of Orthodoxy himself: Saint Athansius, as well as the Saints Eustathius of Antioch, Macarius of Jerusalem, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Eusebius of Caesarea.
It is said then that after having condemned the despicable heresy of Arianism a number of the Bishops in attendance were so disgusted with Arius that they formed a line and one after another struck Arius in the face, and it is believed that Saint Nicholas was among these.
It is likely from this incident that the great Father and Doctor of the Church of the following century, Saint John Chrysostom, derived the following injunction, which is related by his fellow Doctor of the Church Saint Alphonsus Liguori in his discourse on Blasphemy:
“Oh, if there were always found some one to do what St. John Chrysostom advises: ‘Strike his mouth, and sanctify thereby thy hand.’ The mouth of the accursed blasphemer should be struck, and he should then be stoned, as the old law commanded: And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die: all the multitude shall stone him. (Lev. 24:16) But it would be better if that were done which St. Louis, King of France, put in force: he commanded by edict that every blasphemer should be branded on the mouth with an iron. A certain nobleman having blasphemed, many persons besought the king not to inflict that punishment upon him; but St. Louis insisted upon its infliction in every instance; and some taxing him with excessive cruelty on that account, he replied that he would suffer his own mouth to be burned sooner than allow such an outrage to be put upon God in his kingdom.”
This man Nicholas was truly a Bishop of the highest order. How we must pray for our own Bishops of today, and in particular for those in America, who are attacked from every side and in too many cases are being dragged down by the modern culture in the West, and even physically killed in the East.
Collect for the Feast of Saint Nicholas:
God, who didst glorify the blessed Bishop Nicholas with innumerable miracles; grant, we beseech thee, that, by his merits and prayers, we may be saved from the fires of hell. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Now Saint Nicholas is also in particular the special patron of Children as is related by Father Alban Butler in his Lives of the Saints:
“St. Nicholas is esteemed a patron of children, because he was from his infancy a model of innocence and virtue, and to form that tender age to sincere piety was always his first care and delight. To impress on the minds of children perfect sentiments of devotion, religion, and all virtues, with an earnestness in all duties, is a task often as delicate as it is important. Instructions must be made sensible, and adapted by similes, parables, and examples, to the weakness of their capacities. Above all, they are to be enforced by the conduct of those with whom children converse. They learn their maxims, imbibe their spirit, and are moulded upon their example. A child which sees those who are about him love their own ease, and ever seek what best pleases their senses; still more if he observes them to be choleric, peevish, vain, slothful, or impatient, will naturally cherish these passions, and yield up the government of himself to them, instead of learning by tractableness, humility, meekness, and self-denial, to subdue and govern them. And so in all other points. Precepts and exhortations lose their force when contradicted by example: and whilst the infant sees every one study to please himself in every thing, in flat opposition to the rules of the gospel, which he hears preached from their mouths, he seems tacitly persuaded, that such a conduct is reconcilable with those very maxims which condemn it.”
The Blasphemous and Perverse Legend and Custom of “Santa Claus”
Nota Bene: This article is in no way an attempt to condemn any individual person for their actions, because nearly every person who have done or are doing what will be discussed below have/are done/doing so in all good faith and in total ignorance. No intent has been made to impute any culpability to anyone save those whose duty it was to prevent this from happening in the first place. That said please read the following with an open and prayerful heart.
Now having given the true story of Saint Nicholas we will need to dispel some false notions held by the general public and even most good Catholics it seems today. He is among a group of Saints who are not truly known today because of the massive amount of misinformation being spread around, and glaring lack of any actual information to counterbalance it. Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most misunderstood by Catholics as well as Saint Therese of Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.
Among the general populace, however, we see outright blasphemy against three saints in particular. First is the Feast of Saint Valentine (Feb. 14th), which has become a day of spreading every idea about true love but the true one. Saint Valentine died for the holy Sacrament of Marriage, and yet his feast is a day specially chosen for all manner of sexual sin and rampant fornication. No less maligned is the great Saint Patrick, one of the greatest Saints in the history of the Church who was known for his incredible austerity, and yet whose feast has been made merely and excuse for the grossest debauchery. What blasphemy!
Yet what has been done in regard to Saint Nicholas, it seems, is still yet more despicable. This great and holy saint who fought valiantly for the truth of Christ, and in particular for that most central of truths to our Holy Faith: the Divinity of Christ, has been used to completely obscure the second greatest feast celebrated on the Church calendar and the very teaching which he was willing to die to defend.
The figure of “Santa Claus” and the materialistic cult that has been built up around him in the United States has nearly completely obliterated any sense of the true meaning of the great Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every American child knows who Santa is, but how many know who Jesus is? And if they do know our Lord, who are they thinking of at Christmas? Whose arrival are they excited for?
Not only has this evil been perpetrated, but it is made worse by the fact that in order to create the illusion of “magic” and “mystery” (to replace the Grace and Mystery of the Catholic faith which was been so rejected) parents lie to their children about the reality of this mythical figure. And how many children then are later devastated to discover that “Santa” isn’t real after all? And how many then begin to wonder: what else did my parents lie to me about? Maybe this Jesus I have never seen either is also just as fake as this “Santa” my parents have been lying to me about all these years.
Our Lord told us what he thought of this sort of thing in no uncertain terms:
But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. 18:6)
Now all of this would be bad enough, but there is yet one further and final point that must be explicated here in order to give the full extent of the problem. For in point of fact Saint Nicholas and “Santa Claus” have nothing in common or connecting them except that they share the same name. The reason they share the same name is because the actual name and personage of our beloved “Santa” is not the most lovable character after all. For in fact “Santa” is the Norse “god” Odin or Woden.
You make reference at least weekly if not daily to this pagan “god” because “Woden’s Day” we know better as: Wednesday. Scholarly research into the legend of Woden reveals that he is describes “as riding through the sky on an eight-legged, white horse name Sleipnir.” (Note that “Santa” originally had eight reindeers, and the modern addition of Rudolph only then makes nine). It was believed that Woden lived in Valhalla (the North) and had a “long white beard”. Woden would “fly through the sky during the winter solstice (December 21-25) rewarding the good children and punishing the naughty.” (Robin Crichton, “Who is Santa Claus? The Truth Behind a Living Legend”. The Bath Press, 1987, pp. 55-56)
This is corroborated by Mythologist Helene Adeline Guerber in her own research, though she attributes this same origin of “Santa” to the Norse “god” Thor:
“Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was the fire, his color red. The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god. He was said to live in the “Northland” where he had his palace among icebergs. By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire.” (Guerber, H.A. Myths of Northern Lands. New York: American Book Company, 1895, p. 61)
But no matter how harmless this legend seems to our modern ears we must here remember the infallible and inerrant words of Sacred Scripture in regard to reality of pagan “gods”:
All the gods of the Gentiles are devils. (Ps 95:5)
Thus, just like any other pagan “god”, whether it be Thor or Woden, the fact remains that “Santa” is nothing more than a pagan “god” who then is nothing more than one of the fallen angels and a demon. And this is who our children across the country are worshiping: a demon.
This may be worst than all of what has preceded because this strikes directly at the heart of the following of the first, and most important, of all the commandments:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. (Ex 20:2-3)
A couple recommendations…
All Catholics ought to reject the materialist and pagan tradition of “Santa Claus”. One could go so far as the recommend that in order to remove all connection of this demonic tradition from our celebration of the Lords Nativity that we, as Catholics, return to an old Christian tradition, still kept by some Catholic families, of exchanging gifts not at Christmas, but rather 12 days later on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. And in this way we can connect this giving of gifts to the gifts given to the Christ child by Saints Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar; and use this as a yearly opportunity for catechesis.
Another idea is to actually celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas as it always has been in Christian tradition. And this is by the leaving of candy in the shoes of small children either the night before or at some point during the day, and then using this as an opportunity again for catechesis and for telling the wonderful stories of the miracles of Saint Nicholas and his love and generosity to the poor.