How’s That Again??

You’ve seen headlines such as “Infant of Prague clobbers Little Flower” and “Holy Child tramples Our Lady of Sorrows” – in the high school sports section.


Here’s another to add to the list.


  1. I wonder sometimes what Christ thinks about His name, His Holy Mother’s name, and His saints’ names being used essentially as mascots for trivial purposes, in this case the glorification of a sports team. I also wonder if this usage wouldn’t constitute taking the Lord’s name in a profane way, as it definitely puts God at the service of a man-made secular agenda (even though sports are treated like a religion in the U.S.).

    I worry about conveying a double standard to our youth about how seriously we as adults treat what we profess at Mass and what we convey in religious education curricula. If we truly believe that some things are to be held sacred and only used for holy purposes, how do we rationalize this type of behavior? Many teens already say that their parents don’t really believe what they say at Mass and don’t really believe in the Real Presence, even though they go through the motions. How does this type of behavior reinforce this perception?

    Does this bother anyone else? Thoughts, anyone?

    1. @Paul Fell – comment #1:

      To me, this raises questions about the idea of a sacred-profane dichotomy to begin with. Does one exist at all, or if it does, is it just a human concept which can (should?) be revised?

  2. It’s likely that the schools themselves have team mascots that don’t refer to Christ or the saints; these examples use the name of the school rather than the mascot. Headlines like this could be coming from newspapers rather than school sources. That said, it would be good for Catholic school publications to use holy names with respect and not try to be clever.

    1. @John Swencki – comment #4:

      🙂 Thanks for keeping us on an even keel.

      I am 100% certain that God has a sense of humor and that Christ laughed many, many times while on earth (and still does in heaven). I would never argue that we should be perpetually penitent to the point of flogging and self-flagellation. That said, I do think that as a “royal priesthood”, we do have an obligation to look at the world in a different way and to evaluate our choices with a standard different from the world. If our kids and our neighbors see us acting just like everyone else, what does that convey about our commitment to Christ’s message?

      @Jonathan Ziegler – comment #2:

      This is more in the direction that I was intending. Yes, God intends that we have a sense of humor and that we not make mountains out of molehills. However, what about that dichotomy? Did Christ come to consecrate all things for Himself, thereby making the profane sacred and elevating both to a higher standard, or did he come to make the sacred and profane equal?

      There is a tension here that cannot be avoided and that permeates our culture as Catholics. We are called to be in the world but not of it. If we take that precept to heart, at some point, we have to be willing to take the unpopular stand and point out apparent contradictions between the world’s culture and our beliefs.

      Let me rephrase, then:

      At what point do you decide personally that the sacred is being made profane? What does that line look like? How does it feel? How do you know that a line has been crossed? In what circumstances? Using this thread as an example, is elevating sports to the level of a religion crossing the line? Is using the identities of holy people to make clever headlines crossing the line? Are both/neither crossing the line?

  3. Many schools adopt nicknames from secular sports teams. Probably most. My parish in Kansas City adopted Cyclones. Why Iowa State, who knows? Why not something associated with the patron saint, in the abstract: like light, knowledge, wisdom, persistence–things that translate well into healthy athletic and inter-school competition?

    When I was at this parish, I suggested the observance of the feast days of “competing” schools at school Masses. You can imagine that went over like a free throw missing the rim. And you would be right. Much more excitement about beating the other kids in basketball 72 to 36 or something.

  4. If Our Lord (and Archbishop Stepinac himself, for that matter) have any concerns, it’s likely not the name of the school, but the fact that its mascot is “the Crusaders.”

  5. Thank goodness the high school I graduated from is named after an obscure French blessed from the late 18th century (a confessor of the faith during the First Republic). Then again, I’m sure relatively few people know about Archbishop Stepinac.

    Of greater concern is a SSPX school which refused to let their boys’ baseball team compete against another local school’s team since the opposing team had a girl on the roster. Here’s Greg Kandra’s (The Deacon’s Bench blog) take on the situation. Catholics in the know understand that the SSPX is schismatic and fundamentalist. Catholics not in the know and the general public might not realize this. It’s these situations which reflect badly on mainstream Catholic schools, albeit unintentionally.

  6. Todd Flowerday : When I was at this parish, I suggested the observance of the feast days of “competing” schools at school Masses.

    I can hear the intercessions now:
    “Oh Lord, let us be better teachers. Let us teach De La Salle humility.”
    “Lord hear our prayer.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.