We’re approaching that time of year when oversensitive atheists lash out against nativity scenes and oversensitive Christians reply by raging on about the supposed War on Christmas. One name I was surprised to see added to the list this year was the Holy Father himself, Pope Benedict XVI, whose final installment of the Jesus of Nazareth series, exploring the infancy narratives, comes out just in time for Advent.
It’s Christmas, but not as you know it: a new book released this week by Pope Benedict XVI looks at the early life of Jesus -- and debunks several myths about how the Nativity unfolded.
In "Jesus of Nazareth -- The Infancy Narratives," the pope says the Christian calendar is actually based on a blunder by a sixth century monk, who Benedict says was several years off in his calculation of Jesus' birth date.
According to the pope's research, there is also no evidence in the Gospels that the cattle and other animals traditionally pictured gathered around the manger were actually present.
He also debunks the claim that angels sang at the birth, a staple theme of Christmas carols.
Upstanding Catholic Stephen Colbert is not happy. In a segment called “Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude - Pope Benedict XVI” Colbert says the pope is mistaken and has obviously not read the Gospel of the Little Drummer Boy. Watch that here.
We'll be sure to pass along the Catholic condemnation of Pope Benedict from people like this as soon as it's available.