Colbert goes to war on the War on Christmas

Pretty funny.   Some won’t think so. Too bad. If you are worried you won’t like what Stephen Colbert says, don’t click the play button. Just don’t.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Frank H says:


  2. joanofarcfan says:

    I will start wishing everyone Merry Christ Christmas Christ. The over-emphasis is good.

  3. jjfxg says:

    Good guy. i like what he says to Martha Stewart starting at about 2:35 here
    Not often you see somebody in the public sphere inviting somebody back to the Church, even if he is a comedian.

  4. Scott W. says:

    He refers to Jesus as “immaculately conceived”. C’mon guys, even the wildly hostile George Carlin knew the difference.

  5. Soonerscotty says:

    I think Catholics should start a campaign similar to the one about keeping Christ in Christmas…but, we should focus on reminding our Protestant brothers and sisters that they should re-instate the Mass in Christmas.

  6. susanna says:

    Funny. I like him, (especially liked his King of Glory routine on liturgical dance).
    Just got the feeling this audience wanted to laugh only at the Christ-ians.
    Happy birthday Jesus.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    That was good. He is a very funny man.

  8. pelerin says:

    For some reason we are not allowed to watch the video here in Britain so I have no idea what this is about. It says ‘Sorry, videos are not currently available in your country’ on a black square.

  9. Lurker 59 says:

    @Scott W.

    Colbert is being facetious…it is part of the character that his is playing to be amazingly ignorant about everything, especially conservative issues. He is a Sunday school teacher after all…he knows the difference. His underlying point is that “conservative” Christians often do treat Christ as a myth and get worked up about the “war on Christmas” when they themselves are guilty of replacing Christ with a stylized and mythologized Christ complete with the glitz and glamour of tinsel on trees.

  10. Poimier says:

    Well, I’m afraid I didn’t find it very funny – is there something wrong with me ?

  11. JARay says:

    I didn’t find it very funny either Poimier! It takes all sorts I suppose.

  12. keithp says:

    Typical Colbert.
    Not especially funny but I did like the “Gaytheist” comment.

  13. Bill Strom says:

    Fr. Z–
    I find this video offensive in the extreme! I can’t believe a priest could post such a thing! This is not a good sign of your spiritual life. Absolutely scandalous of you!!!

    [I’ll take that as a “No” vote, then.]

  14. Charivari Rob says:

    Hilarious! Especially the idea of the Port Authority having a billboard between the other two.

  15. QMJ says:

    Fr. Z-
    I find this video funny in the extreme! Absolutely hilarious of you!!!

  16. jeffreyquick says:

    Scott, remember that the “wildly hostile George Carlin” had a thorough Catholic school education, enough at least to calculate “6 sins in one feel”.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    Is this a guy thing? [Reasonable question. I am aware that the old Far Side cartoons are funnier to men.] I don’t particularly find him funny, but I sent it to my young male friends, who will like it, I am sure. The only thing I did like was the Merry Christ Christmas Christ part. It is catchy and may wake some people up.

  18. contrarian says:

    Brilliant. Love that Colbert.

    “…but, we should focus on reminding our Protestant brothers and sisters that they should re-instate the Mass in Christmas.”

    Dig it! Good idea!

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    I can’t stand Steven Colbert for a lot of reasons, but it’s good that he’s poking fun in public at people who ridicule Christmas. He’s not in our “camp,” so to speak, but we’ll take his help, thanks.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    Steven Colbert is being facetious here, as someone above said. But half the people who watch the video can’t tell anyway, so it’s not all that harmful for many people. He’s a comedian and running off at the mouth is what he does for a living-better for him that he offends as few as possible and makes as many laugh as possible. This video is designed to do it.

  21. This is funny! Way to tell the atheists!

  22. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, my young male friends like it. (?) It’s a guy thing. Colbert is apparently a practicing Irish Catholic with three children. I have also been told by students that they get their news from him. Hmmm… [BTW… friends in the NY area tell me that he is a faithful practicing Catholic.]

  23. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Deacon Greg often posts stuff from Robert Colbert. I “get” the humor, but do others get “the message” behind his humor?

    Maybe “Catholics Come Home” should recruit him to do a special or two of extending the hand to other lapsed Catholics.

  24. Sandra: Think of that! Our first interest should be in our fallen away brothers and sisters.

  25. Dorcas says:

    I don’t think its a ‘guy thing’…I think its hilarious, and I’m not a guy. I loved Far Side too…maybe you need a certain sense of humor though…

  26. Girgadis says:

    I thought this was pretty funny, particularly the “gaytheist” comment and the graphics for the “Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude”.

  27. It never ceases to amaze me.

    I post something truly substantive about St. Jerome and St. Ambrose and it gets a couple comments (probably because I was so right that nothing else has to be said).

    Entries about the prayers for Sundays? Yah, right.

    But… something about this ephemeral flibbertigibbet Colbert and the comments flow in.

    I suppose I should just dumb this blog down.

    Let WDTPRS go the Lame-Duck ICEL way… it is you who have said it.


  28. Sarah L says:

    I’m also a Far Side and Colbert fan, and have lots of Catholic female friends who are too. It does take a more sarcastic sense of humor, knowing when things are not to be taken too literally.

    Colbert doesn’t speak for the Church, obviously, but sometimes he nails it. His annual “War on Christmas” coverage points out how some Christians are too attached to the flashy commercial expressions of the season. Why get upset if department stores don’t mention Christmas by name? We shouldn’t be relying on them to help us prepare for Christ’s birth.

    Last year Colbert showed a company that sells Christmas trees with giant crosses attached – some of our separated brethren had lost sight of the fact that there is already plenty of deep redemptive symbolism in Christmas traditions. Maybe if they could celebrate with the sacrifice of the Mass….

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    No, Fr Z. Don’t dumb the blog down. I come here because this blog is NOT all about Steven Colbert every day, but about the Church. I always learn things here. Please continue as you have been.

  30. catholicmidwest: No no. I must dumb it down. I will take the Bp. Trautman approach.

  31. Jillian says:

    I did not find the video funny, nor was I amused. Colbert’s humor just seems… inappropriate. “Guy thing” or not. Nor do I understand how this (or something like it) could be construed soas to lead fallen away Catholics back to the Faith.

    I’m sure you don’t run this blog for the comments, Fr. Z. I read your blog near daily, but probably comment only a handful of times. However, you keep posting stuff like this and less like ‘slavishly literal translations’ and interesting stuffs about the Saints and you’d have one less reader.

    Sometimes I can really see how Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death” was prophetic.

  32. Jillian: you keep posting stuff like this and … have one less reader.

    Hasta luego.

    The whole quote was:

    keep posting stuff like this and less like ‘slavishly literal translations’ and interesting stuffs about the Saints and you’d have one less reader.

    Respondeo dicendum… … posted a lot about the WDTPRS entries, have you then?


  33. Geoffrey says:

    “Let WDTPRS go the Lame-Duck ICEL way… it is you who have said it.”

    That’s why early on in the history of the USA, only property owners could vote… they were considered intelligent enough to do so!

  34. JMody says:

    catholicmidwest: No no. I must dumb it down. I will take the Bp. Trautman approach.

    Dear Father,
    I wish you would make this blog easier to read, and stop worrying about approaches and gibbets and other scanad … scandoulady … Scandinavian things like you always do. And as for Trautman — I never understand those big words he makes up. Why do you want to have anything to do with him?

    And why do we always worry about giving others Scandinavia (isn’t there an “L” in there somewhere?)? Is it because it doesn’t belong to us?

  35. Wow. The whole Scandavi-ish… convicts me. I won’t ever use big words again.

  36. bookworm says:

    This video cracks me up and I am female, so it isn’t just a guy thing. I consider myself pretty conservative but I love Colbert precisely because of the way he deftly skewers the obvious pretensions of certain right-leaning TV pundits.

    JMody must be a long lost relative of Emily Litella :-)

  37. Gregorius says:

    Yeah Father, you should dumb down the blog, because cleeeaaarly you are a nice guy, and nice good christians always affirm their followers, and aren’t haaaarsh and cruuuuel and juuudgmeeental and stuff, like that Fr. “Reginaldus” over at New Theological Movement is. [Who?] Why, just take a look at what he said the other day:

    ” Reginaldus said…
    @Ogden Chichester,
    Please understand that I am not trying to limit the very necessary and legitimate diversity among Catholic blogs…I am, however, attempting to consider what are the parameters and what is inappropriate.
    What seems to me to be completely inappropriate is a gossip circle where the president elect of the USCCB is addressed not even by his first name, but by a shortened form of his first name (“Tim”). Trash like that belongs on the walls of a public bathroom, not a Catholic blog.
    What seems to be to be borderline inappropriate is a liturgical fashion show where the liturgy is spoken of — but the concern is more on the difference between a Philip Neri chasuble and a Spanish fiddle back, than on the theology or spirituality of the Liturgy.
    Mind you, I AM NOT saying that every blog needs to be academic or scholastic, I do not expect all bloggers (nor even all priest bloggers) to write regularly about the Summa or medieval biblical commentary.
    I AM SAYING, however, that Catholic blogs should constantly deal with matters of doctrine, spirituality, and/or morals. Each and every post on a Catholic blog should be evangelical.
    Though Christ did talk about the relative value of sparrows, I don’t see how birdwatching in itself qualifies as a regular theme of a Catholic blog… [What a dope. Anonymous cowards too. I imagine that site has tens of readers.]
    I am not trying to limit Catholic diversity or stifle the Spirit, I wish there were more blogs devoted to the various charisms present in the Church.
    Nevertheless, I am saying that certain “Catholic” blogs are not of the Spirit but are filled with the spirit of the world.

    November 17, 2010 5:22 AM”

    Isn’t he just soooo meeean?

  38. Luke says:


    Have you considered that a lot of us really enjoy and appreciate your deeper posts, but would feel out of their depth commenting on them? [Sure. I have considered that. But… I think people are smart. When they take some time to read, and when there is some content, they have thoughts. Sadly, not the case found in every parish pulpit.]

    I’m generally not one to indulge in the peanut gallery. As a young person; however, I sometimes wonder how old people ((As I assume most people here are.) (With the further addendum that I view anyone over 30 old.)) see things that I find relevant.

  39. basilorat says:

    Bloody Hysterical!
    Jillian…I think I know where you sit at Mass.

    Seriously, a laugh-riot. I worry about the day they stop making fun of “us Catholics”, not that all of it is alright. When we are made fun of, that means the Church is still alive and well, and it strikes a nerve. That’s awesome! He wouldn’t talk about it if people “didn’t get it”.

    Those who watch him regularly know full well he loves the Church, very much. He often as Fr. James Martin SJ on and calls him the show’s chaplain, and while I don’t much care for “America” or his politics, ecclesiastical or secular, the fact is Fr. Martin comes off very well to the Colbert audience, a compassionate sensitive, willing to listen priest.

    While I understand those whom may fear a certain “irreverent” humor demonstrates nothing’s off-limits, I truly do, we are in an evolving culture where old mores have just fallen away about humor and what we can speak or not speak about. Colbert never makes fun of the sacraments or Our Lord, he simply states how the non-believer sees it in a humorous way. He does meet his audience where they are… and gently and lovingly urges them forward. The only sad part about this clip was the clapping after his obvious sarcasm paraphrasing the Infancy Narrative.

    He’s a master orator, truly.

  40. basilorat says:

    Fr. Z…I gotta admit, I go to you for the news, and I applaud your constant updating. I go to the NLM for a good theological discussion. Don’t mean to sell you short, but you’re the best online source of info and analysis there is. I gotta wonder how Whispers considers himself a serious journalist, his insights lack depth, a working theology, and substance.

    Now if you write about Dortheos of Gaza, count me in!!!!

  41. swamp_rabbit says:

    I don’t know, it was funny to me… but I’m 30 and a guy… though, I know my wife would like it, too…

    And Father? I thought your post on St. Jerome and St. Ambrose was excellent, it’s been in my head all day. Good stuff. The thing about being an orthodox Catholic 30 year old… Kind of the only guy in the room who enjoys talking about saintly rivalries over beers. :)

    All the best and thanks for a good couple laughs…

  42. trentecoastal39 says:

    Whoa Father!! What the Heck do We Have Stephen Colbert a Democrat in This Blog?

  43. trentecoastal39 What the Heck do We Have Stephen Colbert a Democrat in This Blog?

    Are You Serious?

  44. Dorcas says:

    Whoa, nice way to denigrate the readers…thank you! May I have another? ;)

    Fr. Z, comments are generally used for banter, opinions, and personal anecdotes. Your scholarly stuff on church history, theology etc. just don’t lend themselves to comments. They are kind of lecture-like. Like at a party, when an ‘expert’ gets going on something…how is anyone supposed to interact with them? [Ummm… but… this is my place… right?]
    Not to say that these kinds of posts are dull [LOL!]
    …I quite enjoy them, and the variety here in general.

    But let me say it better: Wow, great post about Ambrose and Jerome, fascinating, wasn’t that Jerome something, etc. [ROFL!]
    (Seriously, thanks for your work. And keep on stirring the pot, sometimes good stuff comes up.)

  45. Desertfalcon says:

    Colbert is a laugh riot! The court jester’s main job is to point out the hypocrisy and self-important silliness of the court he works for as when he asked a Georgia congressman to name the Ten Commandments during the debate over their display in government buildings. The look on the congressman’s face was priceless. *I* think they should be displayed, btw, but thank comedians like Colbert for showing up the buffoons who would use them as just one more political tool to wield against their enemies. Nation, lighten up!

  46. PostCatholic says:

    I enjoyed the clip.

  47. Poimier says:

    Well, Father Z, you know what ? When you wrote :

    “Pretty funny. Some won’t think so. Too bad. If you are worried you won’t like what Stephen Colbert says, don’t click the play button. Just don’t.”

    I guess you knew most of us wouldn’t be able to resist the admonition ? ‘Fess up please Father !

    OK, I will admit one or two mildly funny remarks, but it was hardly worth wading through the while 4: 53 minutes. I could go on, but all will be pleased I don’t. Maybe you were just having us on ……..


    PS – Please warn us when you dumb down.

  48. Poimier says:

    Forgot to say, I put “Put Christ back into Christmas” on my envelopes, it’s understood more easily than the Colbert idea I believe.


  49. NCtrad says:

    I don’t find blasphemy (taking the LORD’s name in vain) and sacriligious “humor”(Christ flying a plane and rescuing Santa) funny. It’s scandalous that a priest would post such a thing.

  50. Thomas S says:

    I wasn’t going to comment, but whenever Colbert comes up people are quick to chime in about his faithful Catholicism and Sunday School teaching, blah, blah, blah.

    Stephen Colbert has frequently and publically given voice to dissent when it comes to doctrine. He supports priestesses in the Church. Condones contraception. He has spewed the drivel that “I can be faithful to the Church while disagreeing with it.” Just look at the priest he chooses as his “chaplain.” He is thoroughly indoctrinated into the “Spirit of Vatican II.”

    So forgive me when I lose patience when he trots out his Catholicism, or when others sing his praises for it.

    You might say Stephen Colbert is a jackdaw who decks himself in the showy peacock feathers of the Papal Flabella. That crow is still black all over.

  51. RichardT says:

    We Brits aren’t allowed to watch the video – whether that’s US copyright or UK censorship is an interesting question.

    But Father, don’t worry that we comment on posts like this but not the Ambrose one. I only usually comment on your food posts, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t read the others with far more interest.

    Some posts we feel we can usefully comment on, others we feel we can usefully read and learn from. Having both makes for a vibrant, educational blog.

  52. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z, you said, “catholicmidwest: No no. I must dumb it down. I will take the Bp. Trautman approach.”

    No, no, not that!

  53. Tony Layne says:

    One of my favorite variations of Murphy’s Law states quite simply: “You have taken yourself too seriously.”

    I loved the clip. (I also enjoyed the heck out of The Far Side.) Don’t stop the slavishly literal translations or the frank commentary … just keep things like this as kind of a palate cleanser. After all, it can’t all be steak au poivre and coq au vin; what’s wrong with an occasional beer and pizza?

  54. q7swallows says:

    “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” — G.K. Chesterton

    I, too, enjoyed the clip and FWIW, my favorite comic series of all time was The Far Side. Thank you for the variety here at your place. So much of my life lately has been so serious that I welcome the comic relief.

    If you go Trautman, though, I’m gonna ask Scotty to beam me up . . . . < ;-)

  55. GoZagsGo says:

    Definitely not just a “guy” thing. :D I love Stephen Colbert. It’s satire people! Thanks for the clip Father! Whenever I’m feeling down I catch up on Colbert episodes, he never fails to make me laugh out loud!

  56. GordonB says:

    Don’t know if anybody saw this last night, but its probably some of the best theology ever put forth on Comedy Central– particularly, I must say, pointing out the falsities of Bill O’Reilly’s brand of Christianity:

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