Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catholic bishop boos Halloween commercialization

A bit late but still worth the read.


As children prepare to go trick-or-treating on Saturday, a senior Catholic bishop frowned on the commercialization of Halloween, whose merchandise he said may encourage bad behavior. [It is actually more of the commercial side that promoters of Halloween are after.]

Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon said retailers selling scary merchandise create a “climate of fear" among children.

“I’m worried that Halloween has the potential to trivialize the realities of evil in the world and occult practices should not be condoned, even if they are only being presented like toys," he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines website. [I totally agree with Bishop Baylon.]

Baylon also asked parents to discourage children from dressing up in scary costumes for Halloween.

“Let’s assume that it’s not harmful to the adults (but) for the young minds, we are giving them the wrong perceptions about the dead. We are teaching them the wrong values," he said.

Instead, he said children should focus on the positive messages of All Saints’ Day.

All Saints' Day is a Roman Catholic holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 in honor of all saints known and unknown. In the Philippines, it is often confused with the commemoration of All Souls' Day on Nov. 2.

All Souls' Day, also known as the Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, is based on the doctrine that the souls of the faithful have not fully been purged from attachment to mortal sins and could be helped to go to heaven by prayer and through the sacrifice of the Mass. - GMANews.TV


Huzzah to Bishop Baylon.  Rare to find a Pinoy bishop commenting on a liturgical feast.  You get more comments about politics and climate change.

By the way, the practice of dressing up in scary costumes has pagan origins. I lifted this from Wikipedia

The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.  Another common practise was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink

Why on earth would we want to be pagans once again?

We are not even focusing on the real reason why we celebrate the Day of All the Saints and the Day of the Faithful Departed.  Are these the values we want to teach our children?

Sounds like the commercialization of Christmas.


  1. For crying out loud, why won't parents let their children dress up as saints instead? This is what we did in our parish (I'll have posting of this on my blog soon!).

  2. Actually I told my wife to stop making my son look like a zombie. Next year, they'll be angels and saints.