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.
"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...."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...."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.
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.
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...."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.
(movie review, USCCB)
And I see that I've drifted into another topic. Which I've discussed recently. And probably will, again.
- "Copernicus, Galileo, Science and a Reality Check"
(October 26, 2009)
- "Global Warming, End Times - 'We're All Gonna Die' Over the Last 45 Years Or So"
(October 3, 2009)
- "Dinosaurs, Mutant Chickens, Evolution, and Faith in God"
(June 29, 2009)
- "Faith and Reason, Religion and Science"
(March 20, 2009)
- "Catholic Church, Creationism, Evolution, Facts and Faith"
(March 5, 2009)
- "The Bible-Believing Catholic Church"
(October 2, 2008)
- "The Pope, the Antichrist, and Fu Manchu"
(October 2, 2008)
- "Catholics Don't Believe the Bible: Who Knew?"
(September 26, 2008)
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.