Would dressing as a pope be appropriate for Halloween?


#1

Do you think it is disrespectful to dress up for Halloween as the Pope?


#2

To a similar question asked a couple of years ago (Can I go trick-or-treating as Jesus?), I wrote:

There are certainly situations in which it would be acceptable to dress up as Jesus (e.g., passion play), and there may even be certain Halloween festivities (e.g., All Saints Day party) in which it would be acceptable to dress up as Jesus. However, the modern custom of Halloween costumes for anyone besides young children often includes satirizing public figures (e.g., politicians, that year’s celebrities). Because of this, your intent could be easily misconstrued as an attempt to satirize Jesus – especially this year with the success of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ – and could well be scandalous.

The same answer applies to your question. Although there may be certain circumstances in which it might be appropriate to dress as a pope for Halloween, it would be morally problematic if observers construed the costumed person’s intent to be satirizing the pope or the papacy. Particularly if a teenager or adult was to dress up specifically as Pope Benedict XVI, it would be easy for observers to construe the intent as satire given the recent controversy surrounding the Pope’s Regensburg address last month.


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