carved Halloween pumpkins on the altar

I was shocked to see carved Halloween pumpkins placed on the altar to be used as candle holders for mass…surely this is a liturgical abuse…oh and there were votive candles inside…anyone else know of such a horror?

Having seen quite a few decorated-up altars in my day, I’m not sure that a jack o’lantern would be any more of a liturgical abuse than whole squashes or flowers or some of the other things I’ve seen.

A liturgical abuse in as much as it is using materials not normally permissable: if anything, pumpkins rot after a few days lol. A tad disrespectful, but for me, seeing Life Teen members in all manners of undress in the sanctuary is more abuse than a pumpkin will ever be.

How serious do others see this?

If I saw this, I might approach the altar, bow to the tabernacle, remove them from the altar and dump them in the trash or woods outside.

Anyone have a problem with me doing that?

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says:

  1. …] on or next to the altar are to be placed **candlesticks **with lighted candles…

A pumpkin is not a candlestick. It is, however, a “floral decoration.” The GIRM elsewhere says:

  1. …] Floral decoration should always show moderation and be arranged around the altar rather than on the altar table.

  2. **For only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the altar **table: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium, if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal. In addition, arranged discreetly, there should be whatever may be needed to amplify the Priest’s voice.

I would do it very humbly…but yes I would.

I have nothing against jack-o-lanterns… they are all over my house at this time of year. Two fresh pumpkins are carved out on my porch, and all of my jack-o-lantern candles and decorations are definitely up and running. But at Mass? That strikes me as horribly offensive and disrespectful.

Its a bit odd but to be fair, turnip carving (the origin of pumpkin carving) was an Irish Catholic tradition. The purpose of Halloween was an unofficial holiday in which the faithful reminded each other of the reality of evil before two beautiful Holydays.

What’s the difference between a pumpkin and a flower? If flowers are OK, why wouldn’t pumpkins be? :confused:


Well if you’re ok with it , why not Mickey mouse or something else…I have never been to a mass where flowers were on the altar during mass…and rightly or wrongly the Halloween pumpkin is associated evil spirits and trick or treat…
The altar and the tabernacle are holy places ,and should not be desecrated by such …

Oh you meant they were literally on the altar? I thought you just meant in the sanctuary.

Is it normal for there to be candles on the altar at all? I don’t recall seeing that… ever.

Old churches in Europe often had (rude???) carvings of demons/gargoyles etc all over the show. Check out Sheila-na-gig…weird!!
There would have been no pictures, statues, paintings, etc in original Judeo- Christian churches. Bells were originally pagan…certainly not Jewish. So lots of pictorial cultural things have crept in over the centuries. But as Jesus maintained: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Some kid labored hard to carve that silly thing to please Jesus…not you.
We can’t all be Puritans…too many Latins around. LOL. Try Mexico on the Day of the Dead if you like monsters. Enjoy your pumpkin and take that mote out of your eye. There’s the scent of PC in the air.

Yes, you are not in charge of it, the priest is. You have not authority to do so.

I always dislike these sorts of threads and questions because the person if they have a concern about what is on the altar should always either go to their priest, or go to the people in charge of decorating the altar and church and share your concern there. Generally, I wouldn’t care to see halloween pumpkins on the altar but I am not there at the Church and problems or concerns like this need to be handled at the parish level, not asking on the internet for input by those of us who are not even there.

That is your opinion and I am not sure what Life Teen has to do with the question at hand and in a rather snotty comment about trying to reach out to the youth in our Church.

Very disrespectful. :eek:

If I walked into my church and saw lit jack-0-lanterns on the altar it would bring tears to my eyes. Why don’t they just slap the parishioners in the face?

I haven’t seen anything like you describe, but just to be clear, how exactly was the pumpkin carved? Was the face of Jesus carved into it, or was it a normal one with a ghoulish look?

I can understand non-carved pumpkins as part of the art and environment decor, but not really a jack-o-lantern. :confused:

I could see pumpkins, but not jackolanterns with scary faces carved out. And obviously, they should not actually be ON the altar, though I think that when most people say this, they actually mean the space under or around the altar. I don’t know. Maybe if they were carved with Christian words or symbols and then decorated with seasonal flowers they might be appropriate? Maybe the names of different saints or something?

Hard for me to believe that the pumpkin is actually on the altar. This would definitely be unacceptable.

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy.

Would you elaborate? The reason I’m asking is because this question has come up before with LifeTeen.

Thanks! :thumbsup:

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