Pope Benedict in his Halloween hat, rakishly upturned on one side. Ole'!
This is kind of a re post of the article I did last year on Halloween. I'm doing it again because it's still quite timely and utterly deliciously paranoid. Somehow it just seems so apropos as a description for where 'Roman' Catholicism insists on going.
Hallowe’en is the devil’s work, Catholic church warns parents
Graham Keeley in Madrid and Richard Owen in Rome - Times Online - 10/31/2009
When Victoria Romero, 6, dressed up as a witch for a Hallowe’en party this week she could hardly have imagined that she was provoking the wrath of God by attending a celebration akin to a Black Mass — at least in the eyes of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church in Spain.
Wearing skeleton suits, dressing up as vampires, witches or goblins or slapping on fake blood is not far removed from communing with the Devil, according to the country’s bishops. (These are the thoughts of an very inexperienced and infantile understanding of spirituality. The devil must surely be pleased with these Spanish bishops.)
However, the bishops, with Vatican backing, have reserved their venom for the millions of parents who allowed their children to celebrate this “pagan” festival.
Father Joan María Canals, the director of the Spanish Bishops Conference Committee on Liturgy, condemned parents for permitting their children to go to “un-Christian” parties when they should be focusing on All Saints Day today and All Souls Day on Monday.
His views were endorsed yesterday by L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, which reported his views under the headline “Hallowe’en’s dangerous messages”.
It quoted him as saying: “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”, he said. (Maybe poor Fr. Canals never got to dress up for any Halloween party.)
L’Osservatore Romano praised a church at Alcalá de Henares, east of Madrid, that has decided to hold a prayer vigil tonight and the Paris archdiocese’s idea of having children play a lucky dip dubbed “Holywins” instead. (Oh yes, promoting gambling is a much better idea.)
“Children dress as witches, vampires, ghosts, masks, corpses, skeletons, and parents favour this type of festivity which plays with elements of death,” Father Canals said. “But when a relative dies they prevent them from seeing the dead relative.” (There is a difference between fantasy and reality. Reality is, uhmmm, so much more real.)
José Sánchez González, the Bishop of Sigüenza-Guadalajara, in central Spain, went further, suggesting that Hallowe’en parties had a “background of the occult and anti-Christianity”. He said that he saw the dark influence of Hollywood playing with the young minds of Spanish children as they danced innocently around pumpkins, little realising that they were attending a pagan festival. (I'm surprised the good bishop didn't call it the dark influence of Hellywood.)
“Due to this influence, Hallowe’en started being celebrated several years ago and it is spreading more and more, without people knowing what it is that they are celebrating,” he said. (I think most parents understand Halloween is by far and away an invention of American commercialism.)
The popularity of Hallowe’en has grown in Spain in recent years as the country has gone from being a bastion of Roman Catholicism to a more secular society.....
The Vatican appeared previously to take a more lenient position. Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, once said: “If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year, that’s not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm.” (One would think the Vatican's chief exorcist would be the real professional voice on the subject---he certainly seems to be the only spiritually mature voice.)
I can remember reading this last year in the Times UK and my jaw dropping. In view of all the problems the Vatican was experiencing back then, problems they still haven't addressed, they opt to focus on the evils and the anti Christianity of Halloween. Obviously these men do not have kids, or were never kids themselves. They also seem to have completely forgotten that All Souls Day and All Saints Day were placed in the Liturgical Calendar on these two days precisely as part of the Church's own anti pagan crusade. I guess this disproves the old pagan adage: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander". This is not true when the gooses are pagan witches and the ganders are clerical males.
Turning back the clock to last year at this time, also meant reviewing the political battles surrounding last Novembers elections. The big battle was gay marriage in Maine. Twelve months makes a big difference--at least it has in the laity. The fall out from the Maine campaign has had the exact opposite effect on Catholic laity that all that KofC, NOM, and diocesan money was supposed to have. There is more sentiment for gay marriage now in Catholicism than ever before, and it's been a significant movement in some Catholic sub groups. If the idea was to promote traditional marriage and family life, it looks like all that money would have been better spent on social justice needs. The more light the bishops turn on their own arguments, the more lay Catholics don't see things in the bishops 'right' light.
There's a hypothesis about how requests and prayers get translated in the spiritual world. This hypothesis says that these prayers should not be phrased in a negative sense. In other words a person really shouldn't phrase a prayer like "Please God, don't let me get cancer like my mother did." The reason for this part of the theory is because the right hemisphere of our brains, which is actively involved in deep prayer states, does not understand or use negatives. It would not process the word 'don't' and translate the prayer as "Please God let me get cancer, like my mother did." It may not be just a matter of being careful of what you ask for, but also how you ask for it. Under this theory a person is much better off to pray in thanksgiving for the gift of good health, rather than petition for a lack of good health.
What's happened with the USCCB's campaign to make an issue of gay marriage seems to prove this hypothesis. They have been engaged in an expensive negative campaign which is generating the exact opposite results of what they want. Personally I hope they keep it up, both the campaign and the spiritual immaturity it implies. It's very good for gay marriage. In the meantime, I suspect Halloween in Spain will only get bigger and bigger.