October 31st marks All Hallow's Eve. For most of us, we fondly remember our childhood...anxiously awaiting the time that we would don our costumes and venture into the cold, frosty evening to beg for candy from our friends and neighbors.
Times have changed. Many families have opted to avoid acknowledging All Hallow's Eve, opting for All Saint's Day celebrations and Fall Festivals at local Protestant churches. While all of these endeavours are noteworthy and laudable, I'm a bit concerned by what I see as a trend to "turn-over" one day of the year to the forces of evil and bow to the pressures of political correctness.
Until recently, I lived for many years in a predominately Protestant community. I've seen the effects of the demonization of All Hallow's Eve. I've been presented with the Jack Chick tracts. I've witnessed the first hand campaign and political pressure that local churches have placed upon officials to suppress the observance of All Hallow's Eve.
Recently, I've watched the Muslim community (with near success) lobby to have both Christmas and All Hallow's Eve suppressed at a local school in Illinois, finally accepting the addition of Ramadan to the holiday observances.
These are not the actions of the satanists, wiccans or pagans.
In the past, it was the practice of the Holy Roman Catholic Church to take a pagan holiday and Christianize it. It seems that the tide has turned. We have now given over this day. Joining the ranks of Protestants and Muslims, our boycott has all the appearance of a surrender. Interestingly enough, the day we have given over, October 31st, isn't the day that satanists have chosen as their "feast"...here is a quote from the Vatican's chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth:
"Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that."
I don't believe I would ever wish any of my children to dress as witches and devils, but it is easy to grasp the point that Fr. Amorth is making. (Remember: this is the same Fr. Amorth who is vehemently opposed to the Harry Potter books. He is intensely concerned with the protection of souls.) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (Catechism, #2116)
So...this year the Knights of the Crusade will be trick-or-treating yet again. St. Joan of Arc will proudly carry her sword. St. Elizabeth of Hungary will gracefully accept "contributions". We are reclaiming All Hallow's Eve. A band of saints with plastic swords and crowns. A powerful witness, nonetheless!