See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows Eve


The Vatican, the Vatican.
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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".
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The Vatican issued the warning through its official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, in an article headlined "Hallowe'en's Dangerous Messages".
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The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: "Hallowe'en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian."
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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. - Source
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I agree Halloween can get too occultish - but parents can pretty much control that - for those kids that have two caring, heterosexual parents that is.  I have no problem with a priest issuing warnings about these things, but it is a little annoying every time the press acts as if it is an official declaration ex-cathedra from the Pope when they announce the Vatican, the Vatican said this or that.
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A celebration of terror, fear and death.
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Jeffrey of Roving Medievalist has a series of posts on medieval fresco cycles titled Danse Macabre which decorated churches in an earlier time.  Not unlike later vanitas paintings, they remind the viewer of the reality of death and the vanity of life - not excluding aspects of terror, fear, and damnation.
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I'm not saying the influence of the occult is not present in Halloween, I just posted on some of the dangers posed by curiosity, morbid interest and dabbling in occult based entertainments.  Nevertheless I think it is fair to point out that a respectable enthrallment with the macabre is not in itself evil.  Especially in our times when people cannot even say someone has died, preferring to say someone has passed.  We live in a culture of death which denies it's existence as well as more important eternal consequences.  In that sense I think the rejection of Halloween as a celebration of terror, fear, and death is somewhat misguided and overly protective.



Although it may sound hokey to some - kids dressing up as saints or souls in purgatory doesn't have to be all prettied-up and candy-flossed - it could be delightfully macabre.  Just imagine a costume of St. Denis - the decapitated bishop carrying his head through the streets of Paris.  Or St Agatha, carrying her bloodied breasts - what a great idea for the SBK walk for the cure, huh?  Or St. Lucy, carrying her eyeballs, being led around by her Roman soldier executioner.  Imagine a kid dressed as a priest in purgatory, covered in crepe-paper flames... a pregnant nun - oh, that's been done.  But you see my point, Christian iconography offers a great deal of freedom in the macabre department - so get over it.
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Thanks to Jeffrey for the wonderful images.
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Happy Halloween to all you fundamentalists!  Booooooooooooo!

10 comments:

  1. The Holy Father needs to reign in the L'Osservatore Romano. It's headed down the ramp...

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  2. I should dress up as St Lawrence one year and strap a barbecue to my back.

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  3. Aceman9:20 PM

    So T-Man, I'm confused...a child with 2 caring same sex parents, they can't keep their kid's Halloween celebration free from occultic connotations? Care to elaborate?

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  4. Ace - Wow - I never even considered SS couples with kids when I wrote this - I was thinking of one parent families - moms without husbands - they have no time to worry about such details because they are busy with work and home-making - single parenting is really hard - so stuff can slip through.

    Anyway. A same-sex set of parents? Hmmmm. What would I say to that? Oh - I know - that is just wrong to begin with. So yeah Ace - they couldn't keep the kid free from evil connotations.

    IS THAT CLEAR?

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  5. Aceman10:10 PM

    I never thought of single parents as not being able to keep their kids Halloween celebration free from occultic influence. I know one single mom and one single dad who would never let their children see Halloween as a reason to revel in occult, though there may be some who could care less. And lots of 2 parent heterosexual couples too. I wouldn't bill any of those as good parents.

    Same sex parents couldn't keep their kids Halloween celebration free from occultic connotations? You did not answer my question, but twisted it, so I ask it again.

    PS. You don't have to shout, I'm not deaf. ;-)

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  6. Ace - I was just trying to scare you. Wulf!

    SS parents probably could guard their kids from the occult, but chances are, since they hold the belief that SS marriages are real they would not recognize the occult if they saw it...

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  7. I saw a lot of kids dressed as Minnesotans bundled up for winter tonight.

    There were also a couple of kids dressed as knights of some kind. I wondered if they were saints but didn't ask. They were with a gopher hockey player and it would be downright embarrassing for the gopher if he had to admit he was the only one not dressed as a saint.

    What am I saying? Hockey players don't get embarrassed.

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  8. Aceman7:02 AM

    T-Man--you do scare me! ;-) You know, come to think if it, there's a lot of delusion everywhere!

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  9. Ace - Boo! You are a good sport!

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  10. Terry, you point out the exact problem that I have with substituting dressing up like saints on Halloween instead of dressing in traditional fun/scary costumes. For one thing, out of reverence for the saint they are supposed to be representing, how can they have fun on Halloween? How can you run around and be goofy dressed like a nun or a martyr or a bishop? I think some of it can in the end lessen children's respect for the saints.

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