Hal­loween is anti-Chris­tian


The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

31 Oc­to­ber is around the cor­ner. Stores are filled to their brim with masks, mon­sters’ cos­tumes, witches gar­ments and pump­kins with fright­en­ing ex­pres­sions. Hal­loween is fast ap­proach­ing and ev­ery year it im­pris­ons more coun­tries of the cur­rent glob­alised and con­sumerist world into its heinous de­cep­tions.

The grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Hal­loween can never ob­scure the fact that this gloomy fes­ti­val is dan­ger­ous for the Chris­tian faith. Hal­loween knows its ori­gins from pa­gan­ism. It is an an­cient cel­e­bra­tion of Celtic ori­gin, ob­served in An­gloSaxon coun­tries. Tradition has it that the night of 31 Oc­to­ber is ideal for the re­turn of spir­its and witches. Three years ago there had been a clear guid­ance on this dis­torted fes­ti­val. In an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled ‘The Dan­ger­ous Mes­sages of Hal­loween’ which ap­peared in the Vat­i­can’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per L’Osservator­e Ro­mano, Fr Joan Maria Canals, a litur­gi­cal ex­pert, was quoted as say­ing: “Hal­loween has an un­der­cur­rent of oc­cultism and is ab­so­lutely an­tiChris­tian.” Fa­ther Canals ex­horted par­ents “to be aware of this and try to di­rect the mean­ing of the feast to­wards whole­some­ness and beauty rather than ter­ror, fear and death”.

The Vat­i­can news­pa­per hailed a church at Al­cala de Henares in Spain which de­cided to or­gan­ise a prayer vigil on 31 Oc­to­ber as well as the arch­dio­cese of Paris’ ini­tia­tive of hav­ing chil­dren play a lucky dip called ‘Holy­wins’. The Pope John XXIII As­so­ci­a­tion de­scribed Hal­loween as a “great Sa­tanic rit­ual”. It said: “We ap­peal to the whole Catholic community not to pro­mote this re­course to the macabre and the hor­rific. All par­ents and all those that hold the val­ues of life dear should know that Hal­loween is an ado­ra­tion of Satan, which is car­ried out un­der­hand through par­ties and games for chil­dren and adults.”

The Catholic Church in Italy has been highly crit­i­cal, and rightly so, of Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tions for years. Aldo Bon­aiuto, the act­ing head of the Catholic Church’s anti-oc­cult and sect unit, alerted par­ents of the dan­gers to chil­dren and openly stated that the event un­doubt­edly “pro­motes the cul­ture of death”. More­over, he said: “Hal­loween pushes new gen­er­a­tions to­wards a men­tal­ity of es­o­teric magic and it at­tacks sa­cred and spir­i­tual val­ues through a de­vi­ous ini­ti­a­tion to the art and im­ages of the oc­cult. At best, it gives a big help­ing hand to con­sumerism and ma­te­ri­al­ism.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bishop Hip­polyte Si­mon of Cler­mont, 31 Oc­to­ber, the day which pre­cedes All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, should be an op­por­tu­nity to help chil­dren un­der­stand “how the Church has freed us from these fears and ghosts”. The prelate added that “for cen­turies, it has em­pha­sised on All Saints’ Day the hope of the Res­ur­rec­tion and the joy of those who have placed the beat­i­tudes at the cen­tre of their lives”. Un­for­tu­nately, the Church’s ef­forts to change the cul­ture were strongly re­jected. In the bishop’s words, “in the end the skele­tons have the last word: They come to see the liv­ing to an­nounce their destiny to them and en­tice them to the king­dom of dark­ness. This is Hal­loween”.

Bishop Hip­polyte ex­plained that for us Chris­tians “death is a re­al­ity that one must be able to ac­cept. It is a pas­sage. Af­ter Christ’s res­ur­rec­tion, we are on the way to the Holy City, where the im­mense mul­ti­tude of those who have been sanc­ti­fied by the Lord awaits us”. This is cel­e­brated on All Saints’ Day, 1 Novem­ber.

If the Church’s vo­ca­tion is that of be­ing a “counter-cul­ture”, the home where peo­ple can freely ex­press their dig­nity and worth as hu­man be­ings, cre­ated by a lov­ing God of life, can the lo­cal Church or­gan­ise a fes­ti­val which ac­cen­tu­ates the bril­liance trans­mit­ted by the saints who cher­ish the in­fi­nite hap­pi­ness of heaven in­stead?

Fr Mario At­tard OFM Cap

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