Take BACK St. Patrick’s Day! New shirts from Courageous Priest.

For years I have disliked St. Patrick’s Day, not because I dislike St. Patrick (a great saint), but because of what the mob has turned it into.  And I don’t see at all any justification for dispensing from Friday penance during Lent when St. Pat falls on a Friday.  I. JUST. DON’T.


Here is a fundraiser for the site Courageous Priest.

They are selling St. Patrick’s Day tees to raise some money.  You get gear, they get cash.  Win – win.


Yes…. click me now.

I think they are green enough.  No?

NB: I can’t really claim that these are my tees, exactly.  This is the graphic that the nice people at Courageous Priest sent me and so… hey!

Your best bet might be the hoodies.  And you can give them as gifts.  Get a couple to raffle off at the parish.

I am told that the offer ends on Thursday 3 March with guaranteed delivery for St. Patrick’s Day.

Click HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    As an American of Italian (Sicilian) descent, I really don’t care so much about St. Patrick’s day…
    Instead, I do care a great deal about what happens two days later… The Feast of St Joseph… with the traditional St. Joseph’s Table and the traditional Pasta Con Finocchio E Sarde (yummo!)

  2. HyacinthClare says:

    I bought one of these last year, and they are WONDERFULLY green. They also RUN SMALL. So a word to the wise… size up. :-)

  3. Thomas S says:

    And I don’t see at all any justification for dispensing from Friday penance during Lent when St. Pat falls on a Friday. I. JUST. DON’T.

    Do you make an exception for countries or dioceses of whom he is the patron? [Probably not. Maybe if people buy enough hoodies. Get back to me with a report about your order.]

  4. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What Fr Z said. Absolutely, and I’ve felt this way a long, long, looooong time.

  5. Will D. says:

    I sometimes imagine St. Patrick and St. Valentine in heaven trying to figure out whose feast day has been more thoroughly abused.

    And even though I am of largely Irish descent, I’m with Anthony. Since St. Joseph’s day is a solemnity, that’s the one to pull out all the stops for.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    After all, Friday penance is a bit more traditionally Irish than corned beef!

  7. Here’s a situation where being untraditional may be good. I suggest moving the liturgical celebration of St. Patrick’s Day somewhere into June or July, maybe June 17. That gets it out of Lent, for starters, so we don’t have the perennial discussion of whether to dispense from penance on that day. It also divorces our solemn, sober, yet joyous recollection of a great saint from the idiocy that is bandied about under his name on March 17. Let the impious and the imprudent have March 17, but let’s make a great Catholic feast on another day.

  8. Imrahil says:

    I don’t see a reason to dispense oneself from the law either; but of self-imposed disciplines, and of using dispensations the law contains rather much so. (Such as where St. Patrick is patron of the country or diocese.)

    That said, there is never a break for the penitential character of the whole Lenten season, unless, possibly, on the Sunday; not even for St. Joseph or the Annunciation. Otherwise, we’d have to begin earlier to still have 40 days, and we don’t want to do that, do we?

    And… traditional penances are about how much – solid food or milk – you eat and whether there’s any meat in it. They don’t stand in the way of beer, or, perhaps, an Irish whiskey.

  9. Imrahil says:

    (Annotation: “patron of the country of the diocese”, because that means that it is a feast of the first class, on which, according to the present Code, the obligation of abstain ceases.)

  10. Simon_GNR says:

    Here in England, St. Patrick’s day is celebrated to some extent by the Irish community but in many places has no discernible impact. Probably only in towns and cities where there is a sizeable population of people of Irish heritage would celebration of the day be noticed. Even so, in England there is much more celebration of St. Patrick’s day than of the feast day of England’s patron Saint George (23rd April).
    As I understand it St Patrick’s day is celebrated more in the USA (especially New York and Boston) than it is in Ireland itself.
    As for moving the date of St Patrick’s day …NO! We’ve had more than enough of the Church unnecessarily mucking about with the calendar. If it were up to me the calendar in the Ordinary Form missal would be abolished and everyone, OF and EF, would use the calendar in the 1962 edition of the missal.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: Friday penance – It was probably done to keep marches and processions from becoming fainting fests. Back in the day, the marches in the US and Canada were long and sometimes dangerous, with marchers often encountering anti-Irish or anti-Catholic thugs.

    That said, most Irish Catholics back then kept a “black fast” (no dairy, etc.) during Lent, and would not use the exception when given.

    I suppose it would be better to find the original bishop letters rather than wondering… hmmm.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    There is apparently a lot of interesting history there. Irish Anglicans had a thing for St. Patrick’s Day, especially overseas, and they had dinners and even balls. Irish Catholics started to be more into Patrick (as opposed to local saints) as nationalism got more important. Some priests and bishops relaxed Lent for this (similar to Mid-Lent days in other countries) but others didn’t.

    In Hancock, Michigan on March 17, 1865, the St. Patrick Benevolent Society held a dinner and ball for the benefit of the US Sanitary Commission (the military hospitals). Fr. James Sweeney forbade local Catholics to attend via his Sunday homily. He then attended himself, with a horsewhip which he used to clear the hall of Catholics, while announcing that there was question about the virtue of a woman who would dance during Lent.

    So there was some disagreement about the degree of relaxation…ahem.

  13. jaykay says:

    Speaking as an Irish person, in Ireland, I have to say that I never really liked the day anyway. No, seriously. Up until the 1990s it was never such a big deal over here in any event, Ok, there were parades, in the morning, generally, after Mass, but in all honestly most of them were fairly low key – typical small-town stuff: “let’s get this over with”. We don’t really do the whole public parade thing well over here, in general; they do it far better in the UK and, of course, the US. And up until about 1962 or so the pubs were actually closed on the day. Yes! And after that was abolished, until 1988, the restricted “Sunday licensing” laws applied – closing time at 10 p.m. So it was very far from being the whole drunken revelry thing that’s common now, with those ridiculous leprechaun hats with red beards attached etc. And it generally rained, unsurprisingly.

    And yes, on a Friday I wouldn’t have a problem with non-relaxation of fasting, even here in Ireland – not that it’s ever publicised very much anyway, unlike in the UK where they at least made an effort, so that’s very much a moot point.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    In Ireland in the 1950’s, the schedule was: Mass in the morning, sweetshop for the kids (because you didn’t eat candy in Lent but it was okay that day), parade, pub to warm up from parade, pub closing early like on Sundays, and then everybody home for dinner.

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    My informant was wrong about it being the 1950’s…..

    But Bone’s Every-Day Book says that St. Patrick’s Day was already a big thing in Dublin back in the early 1800’s. The local variation is huge.

  16. PostCatholic says:

    I found the moving of St Patricks Day suggestion amusing. Just asked a friend from Glenageary, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County what he thought of the proposal and how it would play in the Dublin environs. He offers the counter-proposal of moving Lent “to the Outer Hebrides and shortening it by thirty nine days and 18 hours,” and avers that there is far more support for his views in Ireland.

  17. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The Every-Day Book is actually by William Hone.

    The Ecclesiastical Review, Volume 58
    “Fast and Abstinence Laws in the New Code” (ie, 1918)
    p. 61
    Paragraphed by me, to reduce wall of textness.

    “By decree of 3 May, 1912, bishops received faculties to dispense their subjects from fasting and abstinence when a feast that is not a holiday of obligation [holy day of obligation], but is celebrated by the majority of the Catholic people like a holiday of obligation, should fall on any day of fast or abstinence.

    “Does this indult entitle the bishops to dispense on St. Patrick’s day, which usually falls in Lent? We think it does; for on the one hand the day is kept by a great many people like a feast of precept, and on the other hand St. Patrick may be considered as almost the patron saint of the Catholics in the United States.

    “In dioceses where St. Patrick is the patron of the diocese there is no doubt that the bishop can dispense, for the feasts of patron saints of cities and dioceses were in former times kept as holidays of obligation.”

    Which of course raises the question of who the patron saint of your diocese might be… and why you don’t celebrate him/her, if you don’t…. It also raises the question of whether we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day almost like a holy day of obligation, or like a heathen one. Merriment isn’t the problem, but forgetting our patron is!

  18. I actually just had another thought. We could move St. Patrick’s Day to February 29. Then the desecrators could only abuse the day every fourth year.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I know you’re dying to know about the decree of 3 May 1912. It’s reprinted in the Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 47 (covering 1912), p. 79, and it’s called “”Litterae circa Dies Festos” from the Sacra Congregatio Concilii. It starts “Plurimus ex locis pervenerunt”. The applicable clause is apparently numero two.

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    According to one source I just consulted, there was a translation feast on 10 June, while Glastonbury claimed to have relics and celebrated his feast on 24 August. (What is the current status of translation feasts?)

  21. hwriggles4 says:

    A few holidays have lost sight of their intention. Memorial Day and the Fourth of July have unfortunately turned into excuses just to have a BBQ, hang out at the pool, and drink beer. (I’m glad to see there are movements such as “Carry the Load” to help bring back the meaning of Memorial Day, and there have been more events to show importance of the day the Declaration of Independence was signed).

    As for Valentine’s Day, while I’m not a dead guy, it has turned into a “Victoria’s Secret” holiday, and has been hijacked by Hallmark. Forty years ago, the thought of an unmarried man shopping for his girlfriend at certain places of business would have nearly gotten him arrested. Restaurants have gotten so crowded on Valentine’s Day that the staff at quite a few restaurants treats the patrons like cattle car because they know couples are there just for Valentine’s Day, and there’s an hour wait in line for the next group to utilize the table.

  22. RobertK says:

    Don’t forget St. David’s day. The Daily Telegraph did a nice concise article on the feast day. And what flower is the first sign of spring. Article tells you.

  23. Matt Robare says:

    Here in Boston, where last year the organizers were forced to allow the gay and anti-life groups to march in the St Patrick’s Day Parade (would a group promoting faithfulness to Catholic teaching be permitted to march in the Pride Parade? I doubt it), as well as the general behavior surrounding it, it’s become a dream or ambition of mine to organize a Eucharistic Procession around the Cathedral.

    [To think that we live in a time when it might be hard to organize a Eucharistic procession around a Catholic cathedral….]

  24. Supertradmum says:

    The heresy of Americanism, condemned by Pope Leo XIII, involved at least three major bishops in the east coast of America, who were called on this by the Pope. These included John Ireland of Minneapolis, and one of the archbishops of Dubuque was sent from the east west of the Mississippi to minimize some of his erroneous influence. Sadly, the Irish priests and bishops who followed Americanism made Irish Catholicism more political and less spiritual by putting America before Rome. Modernism underlines Americanism, which not only infected the seminaries in the 19th century, along with Semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism, but also many Catholic publishing houses, including some of the editors of the Catholic Encyclopedia, which has many articles infected by Modernism.

    That the Irish made the Democratic Party the party in the eastern part of the US and in some parts of the Midwest can be seen today with the total confusion of “born Catholic, baptized Dem” syndrome.

    My own home town has a St. Pat’s parade which allows a gay float.

  25. Cantor says:

    Quite a few years back I was flying Southwest Airlines and they announced that in honor of St. Patrick’s being the following day they were replacing the peanuts with honest to gosh Corned Beef on Rye sandwiches for everybody! When the attendant got to me I laughed and told her yes I’m Catholic, yes I’m Irish, and yes tomorrow I would honor St. Pat. But today was a Friday in Lent and the corned beef was a no go. Her eyes sort of blossomed and she said she’d totally forgotten even though she was Catholic herself. When she got done distributing sandwiches she came back with a huge bag and we toasted the saint with coffee and peanuts!

  26. PostCatholic says:

    There’s also very little that’s Irish about corned beef on rye. Irish American, perhaps. Jewish American, for sure.

  27. Charles E Flynn says:

    My idea of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is to skip all of the kitsch and to make a donation to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral renovation fund.

  28. Charles E Flynn says:

    I recall that last year, during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston, I was doing some important shopping under a great deal of time pressure. Ordinarily, I would never dream of simply walking across the street in the middle of a parade, but I made an exception for last year’s compromised St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and if anyone had questioned what I had done, I would have been only too happy to provide an explanation. I wonder if the expression “Error has no rights” would have come to mind.

  29. My old t-shirt says: “Patrick was a saint. I ain’t.”
    Hopefully the humble cynicism is understood here. Its a joke!
    Oh and I am not Irish either, and neither is my liver which can’t tolerate as much as my Irish drinking friends.

    But seriously, to know that its St Patrick’s Day and to get drunk and ornery is just soooo wrong. Reminds me of how St Valentine’s Day now seems to have returned to what it replaced: Lupercalia.

  30. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Following on from RobertK’s comment,

    Dydd G?yl Dewi Sant Llawen!

  31. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Hmm… an accent above the ‘w’ in “Gwyl’ does not seem to work, even when cut-and-pasted to make sure it is spelled correctly…

  32. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Tina in Ashburn:

    I’m pretty sure that you don’t see a lot of naked unmarried young men running around town whacking young married ladies with sticks, trying to encourage female Roman fertility. So let’s not insult Lupercalia.

  33. oakdiocesegirl says:

    I live in California and I have no Irish blood in me. Nevertheless, my Catholic mom always served corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s day. I like corned beef, but I hate boiled cabbage, so the meal was sort of a penance for me to eat. It’s hard to forego the corned beef when many local Catholic parishes are serving it as a fund-raiser.
    Then there’s Saint Joseph’s Day, which is the 130th anniversary of my Saint Joseph’s parish this year. A huge international potluck is planned.
    March 12 is the Legion of Mary Acies Annual Buffet Luncheon [supposed to be near Annunciation, but that’s on Good Friday this year]. Add the soup suppers every week at different parishes…I always put on weight during Lent!

  34. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    A nice (Spanish) cabbage recipe to try sometime is to slice it horizontally (not too thickly), then heat some olive oil in a pan, gently saute several cloves of minced or pressed garlic, then, at a fairly high heat, gradually add the cabbage strips or pieces, stirring them through the oil and garlic till glossy and salting a bit, then add about a cup of warm water, working in as much of the head of cabbage as you like, then letting it steam (with regular stirring, and checking the saltiness to taste) until just tender.

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