As our secular culture mandates, ’tis the season to break the bank and lavishly buy gifts for those close, and not so close, to us. It is difficult to find the perfect present for that special someone (should I buy my wife the ThighMaster?). One could say a spirit of listening and discernment is needed. But to find a gift for someone not so close to you? Lord have mercy.
This year, I propose some gift ideas for a special group who, though I do not know any of them personally (except for Susan, of course…and Jesus), have entertained all of our lives, for better or worse, this past year. Behold, a guide to gift-giving for that special Catholic someone.
Cardinal Burke. For one of the dubia cardinals who has gone nearly 1,200 days without meeting Pope Francis: an electric guitar. Play it well, my friend. Become a rock star. Mumble incoherently about peace and world order, where the streets have no names and it’s always a beautiful day. Then perhaps the pope will finally meet with you.
Bishop Robert Barron. A new job. If it is reasonable to hope that Hell is empty, then, well, we don’t really need a Church, and we certainly don’t need bishops.
Father James Martin. To the man who just can’t seem to ever get enough spotlight: his own reality TV show. It will be called Proud to Be Catholic. As a bonus, the Vatican’s Peter’s Pence fund will finance it.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Sigh. To the man who once asked for prayers that he would not flee “for fear of the wolves”: a large blank notebook and a pen. Write down everything you know, dear Benedict. Everything.
The German bishops. To these nefarious prelates: a large shipment of black paint. You can now blot out the word “Catholic” from all your “Catholic Church” signs.
Raymond Arroyo. To EWTN’s fearless host of Everybody Loves Raymond, er, The World Over: a weightlifting belt. To help as you almost singlehandedly carry Mother Angelica’s network through this Church crisis.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan. For the New York archbishop: a copy of Bishop Sheen’s Peace of Soul. May you find some inner peace of soul with this gift as you prepare for a grim year of abuse lawsuits.
Dr. Taylor Marshall. To the popular YouTube commentator and author of Infiltration: a theology lesson, because Wikipedia says you are a heretic with no theological training. Maybe a course at the New St. Thomas Institute? Doesn’t some guy in Texas run it?
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Nothing. I have no idea where you are. But you have an open invitation to stay at my home.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For our secularist liberal shepherds who recently, in the midst of the mainstream American Church’s implosion, mingled behind security-laden walls of the four-star Marriott Waterfront hotel in Baltimore whilst discussing issues such as raising diocesan taxes: music lessons. Perhaps it will help with the tone-deafness.
Bishop Erwin Kräutler. For the eco-friendly Brazil bishop who shocked much of the Catholic world by revealing he has, in over forty years, never baptized anyone from his Amazonian region: a copy of Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe Christmas album. Terrible deeds call for terrible recompense.
Susan from the Parish Council. This is the fearless woman who wears the pants in almost every parish. She growls at veils, patronizes (or matronizes?) the rosary-praying youth, and cackles in the face of anything invented before 1962 (besides herself) — but not so loud as to overpower the choir’s hip rendition of “Lord of the Dance.” For Susan: a puppy. May it keep you calm, and your blood pressure low, as you continue to witness daily a resurgence of the traditional Latin Mass, especially among those clearly indoctrinated and rigid non-Boomers.
Cardinal Sarah. To the good man who literally wrote the book on silence: a megaphone. May it help you find your voice already.
Alexander Tschugguel. For the infamous Pachamama-dunker: a new copy of the Catechism for every time it changes or “adds” to Church teaching. You know what to do with it…
Bishop Athanasius Schneider. For the auxiliary bishop who bides his time on the peripheries of the Church in Kazakhstan: a cardinal’s red hat…whether you want it or not.
Pope Francis. What a year it’s been for the vicar of Christ! Critics have hit the pontiff hard this past year, be it condemning his neglectful abuse summit, chiding him for the embarrassing Amazon Synod, or rebuking a plethora of other deviating items. Pope Francis most likely needs a good rest. Hence, his gift should be a free trip home to Argentina for Christmas. Almost seven years, it’s been. You must be homesick, Holy Father. Oh, the joy for you to go home! Think of all the people you would see! And the stories they would tell…
And finally, Jesus the Lord — to the glorious King, who humbled Himself to come as a little baby for our salvation: fitting and worthy place within our hearts to joyfully welcome You this Christmas. Do not tarry in coming…we need You!
Dan Millette is a husband and father of four. He teaches in Saskatchewan, Canada. Millette is a graduate from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Ontario and has a Master of Arts degree in theology from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut. His personal blog is www.bravestthing.com.