Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween's Coming: Why aren't I Ranting?

Back in the 'good old days' of my youth, which I'm sincerely glad to have in time's rear-view mirror, a few 'good Christians' went in for an eldritch brew of numerology, fortunetelling and yellow journalism. They were very 'Biblical' about it, though, and probably didn't see anything odd about their beliefs.

That was then. I haven't run into anything quite like that lot for a few decades. Either 'spiritual' fashions have changed, or it was a very regional subculture. Can't say that I miss it.

What I have run into (and avoid, when possible) more recently are rants about Halloween. The holiday, in some people's view, is Satanic: along with beer and Bingo. All of which can be badly misused, of course.

Halloween and Those People

I think part of the problem, apart from the scary costumes and gory movies, is that Halloween isn't a particularly 'American' holiday.
"The celebration of Halloween has dual origins. The first is in a pre-Christian Celtic feast associated with the Celtic New Year. The second is in the Christian celebration of All Saints Day (Nov. 1st) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). In the British Isles November 1st is called All Hallows, thus the evening before is All Hallows Eve...."
(EWTN)
Yeah: Halloween has roots in old Celtic traditions and beliefs; but its name comes from its close association with not one but two (shudder) Catholic celebrations. I know: EWTN refers to All Saints Day and All Souls Day as "Christian" celebrations - and so they are - but they're also something that 'those Catholics' do.

I suspect that the candy hit the fan in the 19th century:
"...With the massive emigration of Irish in the last century the All Hallows Eve customs of costumes, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treating, were transported to North America...."
(EWTN)
As an ancestor of mine said, about another ancestor of mine, "he doesn't have family: He's Irish." I don't imagine that Halloween celebrations' association with 'those Irish' helped its reputation.

Halloween, Beer, and Bingo

Catholicism doesn't seem very "Christian" from some points of view. My faith isn't based on the idea that beer and Bingo are works of the devil, along with a handful of other aspects of life that a particular subculture doesn't approve of.

Sure: alcohol abuse is a problem, and so is compulsive gambling. But America tried Prohibition - and most people in this country know how well that went over.1 The Church has prohibitions, but they're against getting drunk, or indulging in any sort of excess. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2290)

When it comes to trick-or treats and other non-destructive aspects of Halloween, the Catholic Church doesn't mind. You can get an idea of what does matter in the reviews of current movies.

It might surprise you. Ten years ago, "The Canterville Ghost" (1944) was recommended family viewing for Halloween.

This year, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (2009) got an "A-I -- general patronage" rating from the USCCB. On the other hand, "9" (2009) was rated "L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling." Or, apparently, in the case of this adult, annoying.

How Could Catholic Bishops Possibly Disapprove of an "Artistically Accomplished" Movie?

I'm a bit disappointed by that review of "9": I've seen ads for the movie and had it on my 'see it someday' list.

The USCCB isn't trying to be a killjoy with its rating the movie. The Catholic bishops are making an effort to inform Catholics - and anybody else who's interested - what Catholicism is, and how Catholic beliefs are applied in today's culture.

The "9" review gives the bottom line good news and bad news about the movie in the first paragraph:
"Artistically accomplished but intellectually problematic animated fantasy in which the doll-like titular creature ... leads a band of similar beings ... as they battle giant mechanical monsters amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic world. ... implicitly contrasts a naysaying version of religious faith with enlightening science, a false dichotomy that, despite some eventual modifications, requires mature deliberation by spiritually well-grounded viewers...."
(movie review, USCCB)
Showing sophistication and 'intelligence' by contrasting "a naysaying version of religious faith with enlightening science" is firmly anchored in this culture's assumptions. But that doesn't mean that it's true.

And I see that I've drifted into another topic. Which I've discussed recently. And probably will, again.

Almost-related posts:
Background:
1Actually, while it lasted it created a source of revenue for at least one monastery in this area. They made a tidy income, manufacturing stills which were in high demand between passage of the 18th and 21st amendments to the Constitution.

2 comments:

Jason said...

I like your site, it's a very interesting read. I have a site myself that provides inspiration and guidance to people around the world. I was wondering if you wanted to exchange links to let our readers know about both our sites. Let me know.

Jason
TheWISDOMWALL.com

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Jason,

Thank you for the good words.

I've looked over TheWISDOMWALL.com - not the entire site, but what I trust is a representative sample. It looks like a good place to stop and share experiences and insights.

That's the good news. The bad news, as far as this blog is concerned, is that it's not specifically focused on 'Catholic' topics. And, therefore, falls outside the focus of this blog.

But there's more good news: TheWISDOMWALL.com made a good topic for a post in another blog of mine, Apathetic Lemming of the North.

I did a micro-review of TheWISDOMWALL.com in "Throw it Against the Wall, See if It Sticks."

Thank you again, this time for giving me material for my daily quota in that blog.

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More

Advertisement

Unique, innovative candles


Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.