Last week, I put out a brief commentary about the holiday weekend. I talked about:
- March 10th – MAR10 Day (the Mario Brothers) and freedom as shown in gaming
- March 13th – Friday the 13th – suppression of the Templars by collusion between the French government and the Pope
- March 14th – Pi Day – the limits of government power
- March 15th – The Ides of March – Julius Caesar’s assassination and the deep state
- March 16th – God loves me day (John 3:16) and our natural rights
But as several people pointed out, I omitted the grand holiday of the 17th of March, Saint Patrick’s Day! Although many celebrations are muted this year due to the Beer Flu Panic, it is still a holiday many people celebrate.
And it, too, has its ties to liberty and freedom.
Ireland and her people have always and nearly constantly battled against others to win and keep their liberty. For all of recorded history, Irish patriots have been challenged by internal tyrants and bandits (often with little to tell the two apart). The Emerald Isle has been a constant attraction to invaders, including Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and other Vikings, the Norman French and last (and longest), their English and Scots neighbors. Other, more subtle invasions have been a problem as well. In modern times, the submission of Ireland to the European Union is such a problem. But there are more forms of tyranny. These include organized religion: churches. Specifically the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland (part of the Church of England – Anglican).
In much of this constant struggle for liberty, Patrick, long sainted by the Catholic Church, has been a touchstone. Unfortunately, like so many other people of ancient times, especially in the first 500-700 years of the Christian Era, the Vatican (and its minions) have twisted the story of Patrick to their own ends.
Although quintessentially Irish and synonymous with Eire today, Patrick wasn’t even Irish, he was a British Roman, born in the Fourth Century AD in what is now England or Scotland, and stolen and made a slave by Irish raiders. After years of servitude as a shepherd in Ireland, he escaped slavery and returned to Britain and then went to Gaul. Although raised in a christian family (both his father and grandfather were church leaders), he had lived an immoral life and was far from faithful. But living in freedom again, perhaps because of his slavery, he again embraced christianity and returned to Ireland as a missionary. Confronting the pagan Druids which had dominated the island for centuries, he made many converts and is credited with founding the christian churches of Ireland.
He is claimed by the Roman Catholics, made a Catholic “bishop” and supposedly commissioned by the Pope to go and convert Ireland. But the truth is, the Catholic Church did not really exist in the 300s and 400s: the “unification” of most christian churches under control of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was not done until about AD 600. Patrick’s family, and he himself, were almost certainly members of independent, autonomous congregations established by evangelists to Britain back as far as the First Century AD. (Legends exist of Paul of Tarsus, Joseph of Arimathea, and the Apostle Andrew (St. Andrew, as in the Scots flag) preaching in Britain.)
So Patrick would have preached the Gospel found in the New Testament, and not that other Gospel which later Roman Catholics preached. No submission to Rome, no archbishops and cardinals, no veneration of Mary, penance for sins, state church, appointments of church leaders by government. And no infant baptism and national churches. National churches which benefit clergy and secular rulers by keeping the people docile.
The thousands of myths about Patrick, his murderous ways and all the business about snakes are all completely bogus. As is his status as a Roman Catholic bishop and loyal servant of Rome and the Popes. The Catholic Church is well-known for its use of rewriting history – even creating forged memoirs and other documents. Like many before and after him, Patrick was rewritten into a larger-than-life, magic-wielding, nation-building “saint.” And the legend was used to cozen the Irish into accepting kings of ever more power, and the tyranny of Roman Catholicism and its secular partners.
For nearly 1200 years, Ireland was saddled with Roman religious domination, first with the often-despotic kings of the five and six Irish realms, and then the Norman kings of England their successors. When the English became “Protestant,” Irish resistance to British tyranny became firmly welded to the Roman Catholic Church. Despite its own version of tyranny and abuse of its parishioners.
But Patrick did not start that: his preaching, based on the little we have that has not been corrupted, was teaching the Bible and the liberty that people have been given by God. Over the centuries, the Irish have scattered to the far ends of the earth, as “Wild Geese” and just simple farmers and workers – seeking and finding a better life for them and their families, but still carrying that Irish love of liberty, given in part by the preaching and lives of men like Patrick.