Celebrating halloween?


#1

Each year, the women in my husband’s family (not Catholic) get together around halloween to have a witches tea. We all dress up as goofy witches (example, Witchard Simmons or manwitch), eat chili, and play games. We also like to visit a local shopping area during halloween because they have tons of cute witch displays. This feels harmless, but I am unsure how the Church would view it. I imagine it wouldn’t be good (maybe like Harry Potter), and would like some clarification. Also, if the Church does look down upon it, how do I handle the situation with my family?


#2

If it has nothing to do with the occult or with glamourizing sin, if it is not disrespectful of religion and does not make the differences between religions relative, if it does not stand in opposition to virtue, then I don’t know what they can say. “Witchard Simmons” and “Manwitch” are not occult figures. They are silliness, and what you are celebrating is a day of shared silliness. It is silliness with a particular pop theme, but it is just silliness.

It is not OK to make it a day in which to either celebrate nature religions as legitimate alternatives to the Catholic faith nor is it OK make fun of either past or modern-day people who believe themselves to be witches. I think you can see how it would be wrong to have a dress-up day in which you play “Jew for a Day” or “Mormon for a Day”. It’s disrespectful of both the truth of our own religion and the legitimate need of other people to worship in dignity as they have the light to worship. I hope you wouldn’t see yourself doing that and go ahead with it because it is so fun. Nether cruelty nor irreverence of that which is worthy of all reverence is something we can make light of, not even in the most mitigated degree.

This is why you’d never make something like this a parish event: you could not afford to take the chance that it would seem the Catholic Church would ever tolerate contempt or insults directed at other religions, including Wiccans. Be careful that your event would not be taken that way. No “spell-casting”, please, not even in jest!

If your family objects (and they might not), just be very clear about what this tea definitely is not, that you would have nothing to do with such a thing, and how you appreciate their concern that the event be kept appropriate.


#3

EasterJoy is right....as long you aren't actually practicing occult rituals, or glamorizing sin, it's just harmless fun.


#4

Halloween is, like many things, what you make of it. If you turn it into a devil worshipping sinfest, then guess what?! It's sinful. If you let your kid dress up like a farmer and enjoy going out for candy with other kids, it's totally harmless.


#5

Just like you can turn a perfectly good holy day like Christmas into an exercise in excess.

Halloween, in and of itself, though, isn’t harmful.


#6

I have a family member who was a victim of Satanic ritual abuse for many years. Because we know what goes on during Halloween, we never participated in anything celebrating it and would spend time praying for the victims.


#7

For Halloween, I will dress up as a big Jack-O-Lantern, with a pumpkin head. Not satanic or occult, but playful and silly.

Halloween is not evil. It is just an opportunity for good, clean fun.


#8

As a Wiccan priest, we celebrate Samhain as one of the two holiest days of the year and the most solemn. We also celebrate Halloween, but we draw a distinction between our religious event and a secular holiday. Maybe I can offer a sort of "reverse Kosher" certification. You bring me the event and I'll examine it, and proclaim it "un-Wiccan" (and therefore fit for Catholic consumption)!:D


#9

Unholiest, I think you meant.:wink:

Despise Halloween. :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="Luigi_Daniele, post:9, topic:211827"]
Unholiest, I think you meant.;)

Despise Halloween. :)

[/quote]

I saw the "wink, wink!" but be careful. Wiccans are not Satanists, but that is a common misconception that they have to cope with. They are doing their best to worship and live according to the truly sacred in good conscience, after all.


#11

A kind word about us is so rare in here it’s almost disorienting! Thank you. :thumbsup:


#12

Thanks for all the feedback. I like the proclaiming it un-Wiccan idea! I think I will continue to enjoy the festivities as long as I don't hear any super opposing ideas!


#13

I absolutely agree with this.


#14

[quote="ellj, post:1, topic:211827"]
Each year, the women in my husband's family (not Catholic) get together around halloween to have a witches tea. We all dress up as goofy witches (example, Witchard Simmons or manwitch), eat chili, and play games. We also like to visit a local shopping area during halloween because they have tons of cute witch displays. This feels harmless, but I am unsure how the Church would view it. I imagine it wouldn't be good (maybe like Harry Potter), and would like some clarification. Also, if the Church does look down upon it, how do I handle the situation with my family?

[/quote]

the Catholic church has no problem with popular culture as long as Catholic morality is not breeched (parties with lewd behavior for instance). Since the origin of this holiday is the feast of All Hallows, a Church celebration, the only aspects that could become objectionable is those that overtly deliberately invoke neo-pagan or new age practices. harmless fun is not a sin, nor is pigging out on chocolate (unless you steal your kid's best candy out of their bags while they are asleep).


#15

They worship Christ?


#16

I am a 52 yr old cradle Catholic…and we celebrated Halloween. Trick or Treating…dad walked around with us…mom passed out the candy. My DH and I celebrated with our children.
When I moved to SC…as you can guess…Halloween wasn’t celebrated that much in the Baptist and Pentacostal faiths. My cousins never went out trick or treating and my uncles and aunt never passed out candy. So of course, the “Catholic relatives from up north” were a bit strange. :stuck_out_tongue: My cousins went to Church and had Bible study and the children had “Trunk or Treat”.

Don’t see harm in it.:shrug:

As a matter of fact…I was invited to a co-workers home for a Halloween party…I think I’m going as Lily Munster…I am told I look like her. lol lol:D


#17

Hi Luigi Daniele,
A good question worthy of a reply. But I bet you will have set more minds wondering than fingers typing!
The plain fact is, no true Catholic should have anything to do with halloween. It is a commercialised piece of kitsch-culture and should not be touched with a disinfected barge-pole.
It’s interesting to note that the gentleman who calls himself a “wiccan” has aired his views on Catholicism very clearly on another thread.
Halloween is big business.
Catholicism is free.
God Bless,
Colmcille.


#18

Yes, you'd do well to stay clear of that Wiccan guy! He's a crazy old wizard and a known subversive. Whatever you do, never look directly into his eyes.....:D


#19

You call for a legitimate clarification. I should have said, “In charity, unless we know otherwise, we ought to assume that they are doing their best to worship and live according to the truly sacred in good conscience.” If you, knowing the truth of the Gospel, were to go off and practice Wicca because it suited you better, you would be culpable. There may be Wiccans who are similarly culpable, for we are bound to worship God in all truth as we know the truth. If a Christian were to practice Wicca in order to pursue a relationship with someone he wanted for a girlfriend, rationalizing that God recognizes the good in all who try to serve him, he would be culpable for his failure to worship God as God deserves, for his willful self-deception, and for his failure to witness the Gospel.

Having said that, our culpability, according to the Church, does not rest solely on whether we have been exposed to this truth or that, but whether or not we have been in a situation of grace that gave us opportunity to accept it. This is why practicing Wicca can be an entirely different story for a Wiccan…and this is even true of a Wiccan who was given baptism in a Christian church, if the faith handed to the child after baptism was poisoned with falsehoods, like partisan hatreds and a false version of who God is. It would be those who perverted the faith as experienced by the child who would be culpable, not the child who correctly discerned that he had been taught falsehood and rejected it.

But this is a better authority:
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

IV. ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith."60

And from the Gospel of John:
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains. John 9:35-41

So here is our situation with Wiccans. We are bound by charity not to judge. Therefore, if there is a reason for which they are not culpable for what would be a grave sin for us, we still have to assume they could be in the position of innocence. We may not condemn them. We are still bound to preach the Gospel to those who worship in sincerity but in ignorance.

But note what the Catechism points out: that one of the barriers to accepting the truth can be the bad example of others. We cannot preach the Gospel if we don’t live the Gospel. The believability of a statement rests in part on the credibility of its witness. If we don’t live the Gospel, if we do not put love of neighbor before all else, we hurt the credibility of the Gospel. Therefore, we have to preach the Gospel without denigrating anything in the spiritual life of the person we preach to that they know correctly to be good. If we condemn that which they already understand correctly to be good, in this case their desire to serve the good that they see is unquestionably in the universe and reaching out to us in the human condition, then they are not going to believe we know anything about bad and good.

This is why we must always recognize the good God put into others. If we do not, our preaching is far less likely to come to serve God’s ends and bring them to Christ.

We may sometimes be bound to seek what may be good and what is false in Wicca, if we need that to speak in love and truth to them. How can one teach, if one decides to remain ignorant of what truths and what misconceptions are in the person they would teach, or if they are too arrogant to think a non-Christian open to the Holy Spirit might have been given a grace that we, in our known sin, were too obtuse to pick up on?

Now, there are far too many religions in this world to investigate all of them, and some of us are too weak in the knowledge of our own faith to be apologists just yet, so we can only do our best, too.


#20

Hmmm. That could be. I would not criticize anyone who avoided Halloween because they thought it an impediment to their virtue or a temptation for them into vice.

I have been also taught, though, that a Catholic ought to be very careful about having anything to do with pronouncing which things not forbidden by the Church as things that “no true Catholic” should do, but should simply point out the dangers that might lie in what is allowed to our discernment. That is not a bad rule, do you think?

In the OPs case, if she thought the party a temptation to her, she would do well to avoid it, in spite of the good the family might realize from it. As the activity does not fall into the realm of the forbidden, however, she would not be free to condemn those who decided they could enjoy the party without sin, promoting a true good like affection within the family in the process. Parties like that become a precious thing to share both at the time and in retrospect, when the family or a circle of friends goes through hard times. Fun and laughter are not a waste.

Kitsch isn’t high art, this is true, but kitsch that brings us closer together is not a bad thing. That is an art that anyone might benefit from. You might put down the ten foot pole and take a closer look, if you care to.


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