Do Roman Catholics endorse and condemn Halloween?

Photo by Tony Orb


Halloween is often considered as a Roman Catholic holiday, but within Roman Catholicism there are different views of it, and there are differing views in other groups.

Some endorse it, while others condemn it.

Here is the view of one Roman Catholic writer endorsing Halloween:

It should be noted that Halloween is a Catholic holiday. Pope Gregory IV in 835 made it the universal practice in the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1. All Souls’ Day follows the next day as the commemoration of all of the faithful who have departed.

“All Hallows’ Even” as the evening before All Hallows’ Day — All Saints’ Day – eventually became shortened to Halloween. Hallow, as in “hallowed be thy name” in the Lord’s Prayer, is an older form of the word “holy.”

It was the Protestant Reformation that rejected the universal practice of devotion to the dead (Martin Luther dropped any references to praying for the dead from his Bible). This Catholic holiday was attacked, much like the church as a whole, for being pagan and evil. Hence I wouldn’t be surprised if this cloud of suspicion hovering over Halloween originated from the spirit of anti-Catholicism.

But Nov. 1st was the day of the Celtic Summer’s End feast of Samhain, the day when the dead returned to the earth. We have retained some of these pagan elements to Halloween, as is true of Christmas and Easter.

Why would a pope put the Catholic celebration of the dead on top of the pagans’ celebrations of the dead? Because the Catholic feasts are in continuity and fulfill the meaning of the pagan ones

So what about the indulgence in the spooky and scary? Skeletons are spooky, but they are also very Catholic. In fact, one couldn’t find a better haunted house for a Halloween pilgrimage than the various “chapel of bones” that can be found across Europe (Killian Brian. Halloween, as autumn celebration, reminder God’s name is hallowed. Catholic Online International News. 10/31/06.

While the above author claims that anti-Catholic sentiments are perhaps the reason for objections to Halloween, it should be noted that other Roman Catholic leaders have condemned it, while Protestant supporters, like some of those at Christianity Today endorse its observance and attempt to profit commercially from it (for specific see the article American’s Expected to Spend Nearly $7 Billion on Halloween, CT Wants its Share).

Denouncements From Roman Catholics

Interestingly, the powerful Roman Catholic archdiocese in Mexico City condemned Halloween observance as pagan in 2007, though it is still being observed by practicing Catholics there:

Mexico’s Roman Catholic church slammed Halloween as “damaging and against the faith” on Monday, as conservatives sought to stem celebration of the ghouls-and-goblins holiday and return to the country’s traditional Day of the Dead.

The U.S.-style holiday has made broad inroads in Mexico, with monster costumes almost as widely sold as the marigold flowers traditionally used to decorate relatives’ graves during Nov. 1-2 Day of the Dead ceremonies, when families build altars and leave food, drink and flowers for the dearly departed.

“Those who celebrate Halloween are worshipping a culture of death that is the product of a mix of pagan customs,” the Archdiocese of Mexico published in an article on its Web site Monday. “The worst thing is that this celebration has been identified with neo-pagans, Satanism and occult worship.”

The archdiocese urged parents not to let their children wear Halloween costumes or go trick-or-treating — instead suggesting Sunday school classes to “teach them the negative things about Halloween,” costume parties where children can dress up as Biblical characters, and candy bags complete with instructions to give friends a piece while telling them “God loves you.”…

Pre-Hispanic cultures celebrated a similar holiday in August, but after the Spanish conquest, historians say the date was changed to Nov. 1 to coincide with the Catholic holiday…

In another article, Onesimo Herrera-Flores complained that “Halloween, for a variety of reasons, has imposed itself on other nations, displacing native customs.”

Celebrating Halloween, he said, citing a church authority, is “like inviting Satan into your home.” (Mexico’s Catholic church slams Halloween; conservatives call for return to Day of Dead. Associated Press – Oct 29, 2007

In 2009, the Vatican itself took steps to condemn Halloween:

Vatican condemns Hallowe’en as anti-Christian
The Vatican has condemned Hallowe’en as anti-Christian, saying it is based on a sinister and dangerous “undercurrent of occultism”.

Also notice:

… in recent years the Catholic church has been criticising, for instance, Halloween: it views Halloween as a symbol of subtle and dangerous secular values opposed to Christian ones; and it fears competition from its growing popularity. (Franco M. Is this the Vatican’s twilight? Guardian, August 5, 2011.

In the Philippines, Catholic schools have discouraged Halloween:

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has called on its member schools to shun Halloween parties…“Iwasan natin ang mga ganyang Halloween party kasi hindi naman Christian holidays… (Let’s avoid holding Halloween parties because Halloween is not a Christian holiday…),” CEAP president Fr. Gregg Bañaga reportedly said in a CBCP News article. The report also noted that the Catholic Church has been against the idea of glorifying evil during Halloween rites. (No more Halloween parties, Catholic schools told. GMA News, October 27, 2012.

It is good when religious leaders discourage those who profess Christ from observing pagan holidays with pagan practices.

Halloween is pagan and leaders in many professing Christian churches, including Catholic ones, know this.

All theological scholars realize that the apostolic church did not observe Halloween or anything resembling it.

Notice also the following scripture:

Thus says the LORD: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile (Jeremiah 10:2-3).

At their absolute best, Halloween customs are futile, came from the way of the Gentiles, and detract from the emphasis to worship the true God. Those in the Church of God have always realized this. And many in the Church of Rome are getting some understanding of that.

Notice something from the Apostle Paul:

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

Keeping Halloween is evil and people do so to their shame. Awaken to righteousness!

Halloween is not a holiday that the earliest Christians observed. It should not be observed by modern Christians either.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Debunking 17 reasons to celebrate Halloween What is Halloween? What do Druids and saints have to do with it? Does the Bible endorse Halloween? When did people start to observe it? Should Christians celebrate it? It seems like more reasons are given by some Protestants and Catholics each year to observe it. In this video, Dr. Thiel gives 17 reasons that have been given to celebrate Halloween and debunks each of them from the Bible. Three reasons he debunks have been promoted by the actor Kirk Cameron–with others from pastors and religious writers. He also debunks what could be called an 18th reason from a Catholic source–plus cites Catholic sources (including the Vatican) opposed to its observance. This is a video sermon.
There are 7 reasons for Christians to celebrate Halloween? What about the Bible? First Baptist Pastor Alan Rudnik has posted seven reasons he feel that a Christian should celebrate Halloween, which he ties to ‘All Saints’ Day’ as well as the Druids. In this sermon, Dr. Thiel challenges each of those seven reasons and gives biblical and historical rationale for Christians NOT celebrating Halloween, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and the Day of the Dead. Dr. Thiel even mentions the ties to the Pantheon. While Alan Rudnik only cited one scripture, Dr. Thiel cites many and explains not only what the Bible teaches, but what the practices of the early Christians were related to holy days. This is a new sermon.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. Two related sermons would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a link to a related sermon: Let’s Get Real About Halloween. Here are links to three related sermonette length videos: Debunking 17 reasons to celebrate Halloween, Halloween: Are there 7 reasons for Christians to celebrate it?, and International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
Walpurgis Night: Witches’ Sabbath? This is observed in parts of Europe April 30th-May 1st. Though named after a Catholic saint, it tends to be like Halloween.
International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween? There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? This is a video.
All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day When did “All Saints Day” and the “Day of the Dead” begin? “What about All Soul’s Day”?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, and The Godhead.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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