VATICAN CITY–In yet another move that Catholics are applauding the world over, Pope Francis I announced yesterday that he plans to go trick or treating this Halloween. The pope’s decision is being called a historic one, as he will be the first pope in the Modern Papal Era (post 1231 CE) to participate actively in Halloween as a celebrant.
Pope John XXIII (1958-63) liked to walk through the streets of Rome on Halloween offering to wash children’s feet in exchange for two oranges, but as he didn’t wear a disguise on his rambles, the church classifies his behavior as “a borderline personality disorder” rather than active participation in Halloween.
Given Francis’ willingness to make nice with gays and atheists of late—while stopping short of actually criticizing church doctrine—his enthusiastic embrace of Halloween is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
“This Holy Father, he is un grande pene oscillante,” said Marcelo Riccobini, a tax account in Rome. “First the atheists, then the fenooks, now Halloween. Che cazzo!
“I wonder what he’ll be dressed as?” giggled Flavia Meaculpa, a waitress in Rome. “Minchia! Wouldn’t it be funny if he went as Silvio Berlusconi?”
Holy Mother the Church does not forbid Catholics from celebrating Halloween, but some church officials question the meaning of those celebrations.
”Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian,” said Catholic liturgical expert Reverend Joan Maria Canals. “Parents should be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of Halloween toward wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear, and death.”
“If Halloween has the feel of the occult,” said Pope Francis, “that’s because we stole it from the pagans back in the ninth century. By dressing up for Halloween I hope to demonstrate that we are all brothers when we take off our masks.”
The pope has a point there. Celtic peoples used to celebrate their New Year on November 1, so the night before (or what is now called Halloween) was the pagan New Year’s Eve.
When the church moved All Saints Day to November 1 in order to compete with the pagan New Year celebration, October 31 became the eve of All Saints Day or All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween, therefore, is a Christian twist on an ancient pagan theme. Indeed, there haven’t been many pagan religious ideas—from the virgin birth to the resurrection—that the church hasn’t stolen and used for its own advantage.
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