The Malta Independent on Sunday

Halloween is anti-Christian



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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