A priest friend of mine returned this week from the conference for exorcists. Some of the newspapers showed an interest in the statement by one of the priests at the conference, Father Aldo Buonaiuto, asking people to think in a more Christian way about the way Halloween has degenerated into a celebration of all things evil instead of all things holy. (The reporting from the Telegraph is posted below.) One thing he suggests is to banish the pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls and replace them with celebrations on the saints.
Always trying to be on the crest of the latest thinking in the Church, we already had planned an All Hallows celebration with just such a focus.
I had hoped for more photos - including some vigorous apple-dunking - but the above will suffice showing some of the Saints present:
St Martin de Porres, St Mary Magdalene, St Thomas More, St Joan of Arc, St Peter, an angel and St Pio.
Pope Francis was also making a point about fighting evil in the form of the world, the flesh and the devil during his homily at Mass on Thursday. Report from Zenit below:
“Put on the armour of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.” These words from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians were at the centre of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father described Christian life as a “continuous battle” against three enemies: the devil, the world, and the desires of the flesh. Citing St. Paul’s words in the first reading, the Pope invited the faithful to put on the armour of God to resist temptation.“No spiritual life,” he said, “no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”
The Pope also noted the incredulity regarding the devil’s existence in today’s world, where Satan is viewed as a myth or an idea of evil. “But the devil exists and we must fight against him. [St.] Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it!” he exclaimed.
“The Word of God is telling us this. But we’re not all convinced of this. And then Paul describes God’s armour and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God. And he says: ‘So stand your ground, with truth as a belt around your waist.’ The truth is God’s armour.”
Describing life as a “military endeavour," the 77-year-old Pontiff said that while Christian life is a battle, it is “a beautiful battle," especially when in the end, God is victorious. However, he noted, there are moments when we let our guard down.“But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us!” he said.“But don’t get discouraged,” Pope Francis concluded. “Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”
And from the Telegraph:Halloween is a dangerous celebration that can tempt people into Satanism and should be replaced by a rival festival called “Holyween” based on the adoration of Christian saints, Catholic exorcist priests have said.As families in Britain prepare to hollow out pumpkins and dress up as ghouls and ghosts, the Catholic Church in Italy warned that celebrating Halloween can tempt people into worship of the occult.
Most people might think Halloween was a bit of harmless fun involving fake blood and Frankenstein masks, but they would be gravely mistaken, said Father Aldo Buonaiuto, a Catholic priest who took part in an international conference of exorcists in Rome earlier this week.
“Halloween originates from superstitions that exalt malign spirits and demons. Many people see it as a simple carnival, but it is anything but innocent, it is a subterranean world based on the occult,” he told La Nazione, an Italian newspaper.“Halloween is the anti-chamber towards something much more disturbing. For devotees of the occult, October 31 is the satanic new year. It’s a time for luring new converts. And it’s a time when exorcists have to work harder,” said the priest, a member of the Pope John XXIII Association, a Catholic organisation which combats black magic sects in 25 countries around the world.
“With the arrival of Halloween, there is an increase in black magic rites, sacrilege and the adoration of Satan, as well as demonic possessions,” he said.During the period leading up to Halloween each year, the organisation sees a sharp increase in the number of people calling its free phone number to express concerns about Satanism and the occult.“Often they are parents who are worried about the behaviour of their children,” said Father Buonaiuto.In response to the growing popularity of Halloween, the association has launched a campaign to replace it with a rival, Christian festival called Holyween.The idea is to banish pumpkins, plastic skeletons and other Halloween emblems and instead hang up pictures of saints and martyrs.Father Aldo BuonaiutoChurches should hold Masses, prayer vigils and “adorations” in honour of Christian saints in order to combat the malign influence of Halloween, which was an American tradition that had no place in Italy, the priest said.
More than 300 priests trained to perform exorcisms gathered in Rome at the weekend, receiving a personal message from Pope Francis which endorsed their fight against what he called “the Devil’s works”.
The Pope, who frequently cites the fight against Satan in his sermons, said that exorcists needed to show “the love and welcome of the Church for those possessed by evil.”
The International Association of Exorcists was founded in 1990 by two Catholic priests and was given formal recognition by the Vatican in June.