A Jesuit priest says the whole “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” debate is just a distraction.
“I don’t think Jesus would care much about whether we say Merry Christmas or not,” the Rev. Kevin O’Brien, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, said in an opinion piece for Mic.
“More important than just 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. And that’s the conversation we should be having.”
O’Brien said we should be careful about how we use language in a pluralistic society.
“Pope Francis will often speak about a culture of encounter, not confrontation,” O’Brien said in the video. “And this means listening to people and respecting people who are different than us.”
O’Brien told the San Jose Mercury News that he heard from people around the world after the video went online earlier this month. The clip has racked up more than 1 million views on Facebook.
“I heard from Muslims and Catholics,” he told the newspaper. “They’re tired of the division in society or in their church or their mosque. They want more peace and understanding.”
O’Brien also called the message in his video “very basic.”
“It’s very simple,” he said. “Let’s live our faith, let’s respect each other, talk to each other and not confront each other.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.