Dean of Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University dismisses ‘war on Christmas’

In video, Fr. Kevin O’Brien says, “I don’t think Jesus would care much about whether we say Merry Christmas or not,” and counsels respect for other faith traditions

Fr. Kevin O’Brien, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University (image from LifeSiteNews)

A website that agitates for pro-abortion and LGBT causes has produced a video by a Jesuit priest who dismisses the notion that there is a “war on Christmas,” and tells  viewers ,“I don’t think Jesus would care much about whether we say Merry Christmas or not.”

Fr. Kevin O’Brien, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, claims that Jesus “was not concerned about promoting himself, but promoting what he called the ‘reign of God.’ This reign, this community, of justice, peace, and love, that to him was more important than any title for himself.”

“It should not be about litmus tests, about whether I say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Merry Christmas.’ To me, that’s an easy way out to prove your Christianity,” says O’Brien, who also warns that “we have to be careful about the language we use in a pluralistic society like ourselves, because in it we encounter people of different faith traditions,” noting that Pope Francis speaks about “listening to people and respecting people who are different than us.”

“It’s not just about promoting or protecting Christians,” O’Brien adds. “If I am to be called ‘Christian’ or a good citizen, I need to be as protective of the rights of Muslims, for instance, in this country, to practice their faith. I need to be as vigilant to protect their rights and their communities as I do my Christian community.”

O’Brien offers no explanation of how stores displaying “Merry Christmas” would offend the rights of members of other religions.

The Jesuit’s video has been viewed over 800,000 times on Facebook since it was posted Tuesday on the website “”

Full story at LifeSiteNews.


  1. Fr. O’Brien, S.J.:

    Jesus “was not concerned about promoting himself.”

    And yet Jesus says:

    “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

  2. Do people become Jesuits because they believe in Catholicism or because they can have a comfy life while promoting leftist views of social justice? I really don’t see much that’s genuinely Catholic about the Jesuits anymore.

  3. John Patrick says:

    I don’t say Happy Holidays because I don’t support Islam, don’t support Kwanza nor Judaism. Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, nobody else. Christ is God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Period.

    • John Patrick – I’ll be catering Hanukkah events at a synagogue. As in the past, when I show up the Rabbi will say “Merry Christmas Christine” and I’ll answer “Chag Semahag, (happy holiday) Rabbi” It’s a nice little custom. Frankly I think this “War on Christmas business was started by Bill O’Riely to build up his ratings.

      • C&H open your eyes the war is on Christ and His Gospel, but you are too blind to see it

        • So if we’re at war, who is the enemy? The Rabbi I mentioned, The Tajik Muslim my aunt married? The Buddhist family who own the resturaunt across the street from my church. Really, who?

          • I mentioned below how my ex-catholic family member came unglued over a nativity scene.
            Some atheist groups protest nativity scenes that are on government property. She was mad about one on a Church property.

          • Those who deny Christ. Those who have stripped Catholics of their identity and patrimony in the name of tolerance and diversity. Groups like the ADL who will fight to defend abortion but will move heaven and earth do make sure that a Creche is no where near public land.

          • Ask you Aunt’s husband would he rather be a Muslim in America or Christian in Pakistan or any other Muslim country

          • Christian workers in some Muslim countries are whipped if they are caught saying the Rosary. How about that as an enemy?

      • The Real Ralph says:
  4. John Patrick says:

    If Father is a priest, he should act and sound as one or quit

  5. And of course, as Pope Benedict pointed out in his Jesus of Nazareth series, Jesus came on Christmas to give us the gift of Himself.

    If you don’t own the three-volume trilogy, you ought to buy it and digest. Wonderful!

  6. Deacon Craig Anderson says:

    How naive about current events and trends. And, Jesus was a Jew who celebrated Jewish religious feasts, not generic feasts respectful of all the pagan religions around Him. And, certainly, we should not be ashamed to say “Merry Christmas” (Luke 9:26) and it is a most gentle way of planting the seeds of evangelization. Do we not want people to hear of Christ? In my secular workplace years ago, there was some pressure not to say “Merry Christmas” at this time of year. So, I greeted coworkers with “Happy HanaRamaKwanzaMas” instead. It very quickly became clear that the traditional holiday greeting was preferred to such a strange, yet inclusive, greeting. Blessed Advent! And, I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas! shortly!

  7. Ah yes, simply one more Jesuit who has lost his way. Rather than appearing in videos, perhaps he should spend some time reading the words and practices of Jesus in the New Testament.

  8. Another priest who will sacrifice every last bit of Catholic identity and patrimony in the name of tolerance….

  9. Please click the link and watch the video. The short edit of the lifesitenews article really does not represent very well what the priest said.

    • Anon:
      I thought the Lifesitenews did a good job of summarizing the clip. How did you think it deficient?

      My own thought having seen the full clip is that Fr. O’Brien didn’t evidence one shred of the virtue of Faith in his comments. There was nothing in what he said that would indicate he was a Catholic priest or even a believing Catholic himself. Really a disgraceful effort on the part of this Jesuit.

      • I meant the edit of the lifesitenews article here on CCD.
        However, they did leave out: “More important than saying Merry Christmas is to live it. That is to live as Jesus did: to live a life of simplicity, a life of generosity, a life of service, a life of welcome and hospitality to others.” Or “Christians, like any people of faith, need to defend their right to practice their faith in our society.”
        He talked about Jesus, he talked about the Pope…what did you want him to say to prove his faith to you?

        • Let’s see here…
          First, his progressive Christian move to distinguish between “promoting Himself” and “promoting the Reign of God.” He identifies the latter as a community of justice, peace, and love. Nowhere does he seem to identify that with Heaven or the Catholic Church, the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on Earth.
          Second, he claims that the promotion of the “Reign of God” takes priority over any title Jesus might have. And yet the Holy Spirit, acting through the human authors of the Bible, has created many magnificent titles for Jesus connected with His Incarnation: Emmanuel and King of Kings being two of them. “Emmanuel,” God-with-us, is a huge clue about Jesus’ divinity.
          — more to follow —

        • Third, he claims that more important than saying Merry Christmas is living a life modelled on Jesus’. That’s great, but then he identifies living as Jesus did without any reference to worshipping the True God, the God of Israel, the Lord. That is a radically truncated view of the life of the Christ. The Gospels are full of references to Jesus praying to the Father and reconfirming the Greatest Commandment of Israel as the Greatest Commandment of Christians: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

          Fourth, there was no call to discipleship in the video. He identified behaviors of a Christian, which was good, but nowhere did he point out that such behaviors are…

          • … are spiritually useless unless one follows the call of the Baptist and Jesus Himself to “Repent and believe the Gospel.” Faith comes first, and then good works, the exercise of Christian Charity, are meritorious in the eyes of God.

            I’m not saying that Fr. O’Brien has no faith. I’m saying that he missed a golden opportunity to preach the Gospel to a group that clearly is in need of it.

          • The Real Ralph says:

            I for one would not have minded at all if you had said he has no faith. At least we can say for sure that nothing here indicates he has any. Why give him any benefit of any doubt? It’s hardly possible to hear any Jesuit pronouncement these days which doesn’t “miss an opportunity.” That’s by design. They use those chances instead to promote their own Feminist-Homosexualist-Marxist distortion of the faith. When are people going to call them out? They’ve paid out a quarter of a billion in (mostly) homosexual abuse abuse settlements. What good are they as an order? Even one of their own told me years ago that the order was “corrupt.”

          • Thank you for answering. I know you spent a lot of time to write to us and I appreciate it. I noticed some of that. I also do not agree with Fr. O’Brien that there is no effort to de-Christianize Christmas. It has been going on since before I was born I guess. My parents always sent out cards that said “Happy Holidays.” I always sent out funny Christmas cards until I converted and became serious about evangelization. i know the Knights began a “Jesus is the reason for the season” campaign many decades ago. I believe in the power of the Holy Name. He said Jesus. There were pictures of Jesus. There were pictures of people praying. There was also some huge edit so we can’t know what was removed.

          • People are so quick to condemn others. It is like people lie in wait ready to pounce on any mistake someone makes or even just something they disagree with or anything that doesn’t echo what they already think. I guess that is the internet. I don’t know how this video came to be, what the request was. Maybe he could have done it better…maybe he thought of things he should have said later. Or maybe he was happy with it. Isn’t there a teaching in the Faith to assume the best of people? It’s ok to disagree with or to improve on what he said. We could extrapolate on the theme without being critical of the person.

          • What does Merry Christmas mean, anyway? Party hearty? Some people say “Happy Christmas.” or “Have a blessed Christmas.” or “I hope you have a peaceful, holy Christmas.” You can always ask if someone celebrates Christmas. We have one Jewish family member. He says Merry Christmas to us. We usually say it back. He doesn’t freak out.

          • But the Jewish person’s wife (who is formerly Catholic) got really upset because of a public nativity scene. She thought it was inconsiderate of them to put that up where everybody could see it. A lot of times it is not people of other faiths who object to Christmas things, but people of no faith or renounced faith or people who are getting offended for other people. It’s weird.

          • “But the Jewish person’s wife (who is formerly Catholic) got really upset because of a public nativity scene. ” Gee there is a big shock…..Remember the world hated Him first and still does,

  10. Michael McDermott says:

    The GILBERT Gaystapo that essentially runs Santa Clara and its ‘law school’ is far more hostile to the teachings of the Catholic Magisterium than the KKKlanKlowns ever were.

    I have experienced first hand the vicious hate driven MISANDRY that Pervades the Faculty and Administration in this pathetic Farce of Academentia, but then its not like they try to hide their Hate, but rather promote it as a SJW (social justice warrior) Proud Banner.

  11. This guy is a deceptive knucklehead. No one says Jesus is upset about anything… the point is religious discrimination against Christians. Its a shame that a supposed “leader” of Christians is apologizing for those that are out to de-Christianize Christmas.

  12. How are vocations going for the Jesuits? Would like to see their ordination and seminary numbers for the last few years.

  13. I tell people who are obviously Christians have a Merry Christimas or Happy Easter. I tell people I know are Jewish Happy Hanakkah or Happy Passover since the Lord Jesus celebrated both. Others I tell Happy New year or just ignore the whole thing.

    I stunned one caller when I answered my telephone with “Christ is risen”. I thought it was my daughter whom I had told to reply, “He has risen indeed”

    • I did not mean that I iignore Christmas, just that I do not feel obligated to wish people whom I do not know a Merry Christmas or any other holiday.

      • Do you live in an area of the country where people don’t talk to strangers? I always forget when I travel that other areas of the country don’t wave, nod or say hi to everyone. It freaks people out. Once I was visiting a town in the South that is supposed to be friendly and no one was saying hi and was looking at the ground when I greeted them. I thought “What is wrong with these people?” Then I realized they were the tourists.

        • Anonymous, I used to talk to just about everyone in lines at grocery stores, etc. Now after realizing so many I am talking to do not understand a word I have said, no matter their ethnic group, I am no longer quite so chatty. Also, I often see a man and woman in line, and she is covered from head to toe with a black face veil. I am veeery reluctant to say anything to them.

  14. The Watchman says:

    Of course there is a war on Christmas and everything that is Christian especially of the Catholic faith. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ King of Kings Lord of Lords True God and True Man. So this Christmas wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season.

  15. One of O’Brien’s Moslems just practiced his faith in New York’s Times Square. Happy Winter Solstice!

  16. I see that this situation made Church Militant’s “The Vortex.” Way to go CCD!

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