Saying Boo To A Ghost

So far as Hallowe’en is concerned, the Pope, it seems, is all bah, humbug. The Daily Telegraph has the details:

The Holy See has warned that parents should not allow their children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls on Saturday, calling Hallowe’en a pagan celebration of “terror, fear and death”. The Roman Catholic Church has become alarmed in recent years by the spread of Hallowe’en traditions from the US to other countries around the world. As in Britain, it is only in recent years that Italian children have dressed up in costumes, played trick or treat on their neighbours and made lanterns out of hollowed out pumpkins.

The Vatican issued the warning through its official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an article headlined “Hallowe’en’s Dangerous Messages”. The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: “Hallowe’en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.” Parents should “be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death,” said Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites.

Good luck with that.

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10 Responses to Saying Boo To A Ghost

  1. Mike H says:

    Nobody has told NRO apparently. Lopez and Co. haven’t taken down the Halloween website layout yet.

  2. sg says:

    Sooooo ridiculous.

    No ordinary kid or parent gives a crap about some goofy “occult” ideas that were associated with the day a thousand years ago!

    It is just a fun candy grab.

  3. John says:

    I love Halloween. I love the candy, I love the monsters, and I love the whole atmosphere of the holiday.

    I think that a bit of the reason why I like it is that it is the one holiday where we don’t have to thank anyone. On all other holidays (OK, except New Year’s) we are supposed to be honoring somebody or some group. The moral to Halloween is “Just have a great time!” I suspect this is part of the reason that the Pope doesn’t like it.

  4. Jane S says:

    My daughter’s Catholic school celebrates Halloween with an annual in-school parade for grades K-3 and a Saturday Halloween tailgate that’s open to all. Sexy, gory, or violent costumes would not be permitted, but none objects to kids dressing as ghosts, or ghouls, or Harry Potter. (My daughter dressed as Hermione Granger this year.) These practices are pretty typical among all the Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit. We celebrated Halloween in my Catholic school in the 1970s. Any notion that Halloween is evil or demonic would have been laughed off as looney Protestant fundamentalism. There’s a long history of the American Catholic church accepting Halloween as a fun, innocent, secular holiday, with some religious history behind it to give it extra legitimacy. The Catholic Church claims to know and preach eternal truths, uninfluenced by the mood of the moment. So if Halloween is evil, why is it just discovering this now? Why did the Vatican remain silent for all these decades as American Catholic schools decorated bulleting boards with witches and vampires? Looks like we’re in for another round of We didn’t say (or not say) the things we said (or didn’t say).

    P.S. Don’t ask why someone with my views has a kid in Catholic schools. Suffice it to say that philosophical developments since my marriage have made me a closet agnostic. Besides, the public schools around here suck.

  5. tom says:

    I’m waiting for Fox to launch it’s annual “War on Halloween” news stories.

  6. Richard says:

    The notion that Halloween is a centuries old pagan (or Celtic) tradition is bollocks. The Halloween we know got started in America in about the 1920s, which is why the Vatican never got around to trying to stamp it out.

  7. Eoin says:

    Richard feel free to actually check history before you make stuff up. If Halloween is celebrated universally in America in the 1920’s then where did it come from? That’s right. From Irish immigrants ( there are plenty of references to it from the 19th century). Since Irish people still celebrate Halloween, and have done so before it became fashionable in England – seemingly because of ET – i.e. my Dad went out, his dad went out, and we have different traditions ( singing instead of trick or treating, barn braics, BonFires, Turnips not Pumpkins etc.) it is clear where it came from.

    The telegraph piece is more Catholic bashing from the English. Halloween not only survived Catholicism it was brought to the US by believing Catholics. What it didn’t survive was English protestantism – guy Fawkes replaced that when the fundies took over.

    The English reaction to halloween needs a book in itself. Next year can I have a guest spot here to blog? It really is extraordinary how hidden strains of nationalism runs through the English distaste for the festival or in the case of htis article, nationalism runs through the supposed defence of the festival.

    ( By nationalism I mean on one side – anti-Catholicism as here, on the anti-Halloween side, anti-Americanism and a ignorance of the celtic fringe)

  8. Eoin says:

    guy Fawkes replaced = bonfire night replaced

  9. Pauline says:

    I am both atheist and right-wing, but I don’t see how the Vatica’s view on this issue is ridiculous.

    Obviously Halloween celebrates ghosts, death, darkness, and even more. Disneyland in Europe advertises every year with the slogan “it’s so tempting to be mean”. !?!

    I can’t blame anyone for calling that occult and wanting to stamp it out.

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