With Halloween coming up, many people see the day as a pagan holiday that celebrates death and the demonic. Some Catholics may be hesitant to let their children participate in such a holiday. However, Halloween actually has its roots in Catholic tradition. Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. has an article about The Catholic Origins of Halloween, where he writes:
We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.
It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere.
You can read the whole story at uCatholic.
For more discussion on this topic, listen to yesterday’s Right Here, Right Now show where Patrick Madrid addresses this topic.
Photo credit: CNS/Reuters
During an October 25 audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis addressed 8,000 lay people and took questions from the audience. The questions ranged from how to strengthen families to how the Holy Father maintains his spirit of hope and happiness in our troubled world. Catholic News Service reports:
In response to a question about how to help families, Pope Francis said he believed “the Christian family, the family, marriage have never been attacked as much as they are right now.”
The family is “beaten and the family is bastardized” and debased, since almost anything is being called a family, he said.
The family faces a crisis “because it is being bludgeoned by all sides, leaving it very wounded,” he said. There is no other choice than to go to the family’s aid and give them personal help, he said.
“We can give a nice speech, declare principles. Of course we need to do this, with clear ideas” and statements saying that unions that do not reflect God’s plan of a permanent union between a man and a woman are forms of “an association, not a marriage.”
However, people must also be accompanied “and this also means wasting time. The greatest master of wasting time is Jesus. He wasted time accompanying, to help consciences mature, to heal the wounds, to teach,” the pope said.
He said the sacrament of matrimony is becoming just a ceremony or social event for some people, who do not see its sacramental nature as a union with God. Part of the problem is a lack of formation for engaged couples and “this is a sin of omission on our part,” he said.
Read the rest at Catholic News Service.
Pope Francis gave a speech at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, addressing the Synod Fathers, and likened the Synod to a “journey together,” a journey that involved consolation and grace as well as desolation and temptation. Below is an excerpt of his speech, translated by Vatican Radio:
I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”
And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned: (more…)