Father’s Day

From out of the tangled past, we retrieve some holidays, and discount, or actually forget about others. Father’s Day is our example for today. It should, according to all educated Catholics, fall on March 19th. In fact, according to the usual unreliable sources (Wikipaedia, &c), even some Anglicans and Lutherans honour Saint Joseph on his day, which celebration was formally instituted at Rome (I think) about the time that they drifted away from us.

He, Joseph, is also the Patron Saint of Carpenters, as almost everyone knows, and of the Dominion of Canada, as many Canadians used to know. Also the Patron in the red-and-white national celebration of Poland, where he is rather more acknowledged. Too, he is the Patron of the Universal Church, East and West.

I am not a priest, nor the son of a priest, and should not be trusted on the conventions of the Church Calendar, but I think we are luckier than the Irish in this respect. For Saint Patrick’s, which generally falls in Lent, is not necessarily a holy day of obligation, conferring exemption from lenten customs, outside perhaps Ireland itself. But St Joseph’s is such a day of dispensation, on whatever day of the week it may fall — whether or not our holy priests have expressly declared it. Not only can we drink ale on the occasion, entirely without guilt, and eat walrus steaks or chunks of any other animal, but we needn’t colour them green with food dye.

Saint Joseph is the model for an earthly father, of a child who is not really his own, as all human children are not really one’s own. They come from their mother’s body, and are tangibly their mother’s possession, for a short time (until yanked away, by one method or another). That the father has (or had), however, a prominent place, in Christian or even pagan families, was fairly well established until recently.

In the Woke family he has no significance whatever, and mothers have none either, because there is no such thing as a woman — except among biologists, apparently. Of course, there being no women there can also be no men, so the question of fatherhood doesn’t arise.

It does nevertheless arrive, on this day, in mid-June or thereabouts, through North American commercial culture, in our present societal order. People buy things for what they naïvely accept as fathers of some sort. The current inflation may help to reduce this.