A letter arrived in my mailbox today
From a special location so far, far away
I dropped all my duties to read it, because
The return label said it had come from “S. Claus”
I had written to Santa, some long time ago,
Addressed it and stamped it and walked through the snow
The letter was taken, and wasn’t returned
Which they would, if he hadn’t existed, I’ve learned.
“Dear good little … boy? Little girl? Little fish?
I know you did not get the gift that you wish;
I’m sorry that so many months have gone by
But I’m writing you now and I’m telling you why.
You wanted a pony—or was it a horse?
Could Santa have brought what you wanted? Of course!
The reason I didn’t, though you wish I had,
Is simple: You’ve really been horribly bad.
That’s right; it’s your fault, not that Santa’s a phony—
Of course I could bring you a horse (or a pony)
On my sleigh, even though there’s no snow in Atlanta,
Cos physics works different for me, cos I’m Santa.
There’s no time for the flying, much less for the landing,
So of course it’s too much for your small understanding;
I’m magic—I’m flying, with Dasher and Cupid—
You don’t understand, cos you’re bad and you’re stupid.
So yes, in a magical instant, I’m flying
Which skeptical you make a point of denying
And that’s why your name’s on the naughtiest list…
Because really and truly, I swear I exist.
Just think of the presents you’d get to receive
If you only repented and start to believe!
You could have had presents galore, all along…
If you hadn’t insisted on doing it wrong.
Now I’ve got to get going, so this is goodbye,
And you can be better, perhaps, if you try.
But… if you get nothing, despite what you do?
It’s still cos you’re bad, so I’ll blame it on you.
Benedict wrote his letter to Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian atheist and mathematician who in 2011 wrote a book titled “Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You.” The book was Odifreddi’s reaction to Benedict’s classic “Introduction to Christianity,” perhaps his best-known work.
And the letter?
In Benedict’s letter, he takes Odifreddi to task for what he said was the “aggressiveness” of his book, and responds to many of the arguments with piqued criticism himself.
“What you say about the figure of Jesus isn’t worthy of your scientific standing,” wrote Benedict, who authored a highly praised, three-volume work on the Jesus Christ during his pontificate.
He similarly criticizes Odifreddi’s “religion of mathematics” as “empty” since it doesn’t even consider three fundamental themes for humanity: freedom, love and evil.
On evolution, he wrote: “If you want to substitute God with Nature, the question remains: What does this Nature consist of? Nowhere do you define it and it appears rather like an irrational divinity that doesn’t explain anything.”
Odifreddi doesn’t deserve a pony. But Santa is real.