The irreligious going to Mass on Christmas day causes “indirect harm”, journalist Simon Tierney has argued.
To mark the festive season, millions of lapsed Christians - and a number of atheists as well - head to church for their one and only service of the year.
For them, it is a harmless acknowledgment of the day’s Christian origin, a nice family tradition or simply a chance to belt out all some favourite Christmas tunes.
But for Simon, it is a ritual that entrenches the influence of the Catholic Church in Irish society.
“My problem is that when we go to Christmas day mass but we don’t bother with this organisation the rest of the year, then we’re legitimising them,” he send Lunchtime Live.
“We’re validating their position in [our] lives.
“Why go to Mass on Christmas day if you don’t sign up to this club the rest of the year? Why bother?”
Simon understands that many people do it to make their family happy but believes that overall there is an “indirect harm” in the ritual.
“I want us to have less apathy about the position of the church in Ireland,” he said.
“At certain times of the year, we stand up together and we’re outraged by the historic abuses of the Church.
“Whether it’s the findings in Tuam or whether it’s the situation down in Tralee a few weeks ago with what that priest said at the pulpit.
“And I find at Christmas, we have a collective amnesia around these issues.”
Main image: Packed cathedral for Christmas mass. Photo: Marcel Mettelsiefen