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Bishop Gives Good Advice on Halloween

Bishop David Austin Konderla, issued some timely advice on the subject of Halloween and what is the proper way to celebrate the holy days that surround it.

Even though Halloween has origins in the Catholic liturgical calendar, Bishop Konderla warns that the customs surrounding it have "drifted from the feast's intended meaning and purpose."

For example, the word "Halloween" comes from a combination of two words in the English language's history - the word "hallows" meaning "holy ones" while the word "e'en" represents a shortening of the word "evening."

Thus “Hallow-e'en” or “Hallows' Eve” refers to “The Eve of All Saints.”

Even the custom of dressing up for Halloween is devotional in spirit. Some of the more frightening aspects of the feast, such as skulls and scythes have historically recalled our mortality, reminding us to be holy because we are destined for judgment.

“Visible symbols of death thus represent a reminder of the last things---death, judgment, Heaven, and hell (CCC 1020-65). While the ‘Gothic’ aspect of Halloween reminds us of Christian teaching about the resurrection of the dead, our culture often represents this in a distorted manner, for when the dead are raised they will in truth be ‘clothed with incorruptibility’” (1 Cor 15:50-54).

However, when separated from Catholic teaching, the holiday's grim, ghoulish, or "Gothic" costumes can be mistaken as "celebration or veneration of evil or of death itself, contradicting the full and authentic meaning of Halloween," he warns.

“We also want to intentionally avoid those things that are contrary to our Catholic faith but have become popularized through the secular adaptation of Halloween. Turning to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we want to refrain from glamorizing or celebrating anything involving superstition, witches, witchcraft, sorcery, divinations, magic, and the occult (cf. CCC 2210-2117).

In other words, Halloween can be celebrated, but in the Catholic tradition rather than the secular.

As the bishop advises: "Let us make this year's celebration an act of true devotion to God, whose saints give us hope that we too may one day enter into the Kingdom prepared for God's holy ones from the beginning of time."

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