Tulsa, Okla., Oct 4, 2018 / 02:01 am
Whether you dress up as a ghoul, a hero, or a saint, Halloween has a Christian origin that should inspire us to remember our mortality and our redemption in Christ, Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa has said.
“In contrast to popular culture’s observance of Halloween, even the customary appeal to the ‘frightful’ has a devotional meaning in the Catholic tradition. Props such as skulls and scythes have historically recalled our mortality, reminding us to be holy because we are destined for judgment,” the bishop said, citing Hebrews 9:27 and Revelation 14:15. “Visible symbols of death thus represent a reminder of the last things – death, judgment, Heaven, and hell.”
Bishop Konderla discussed the upcoming holiday, which falls before the Nov. 1 feast of All Saints, in a Sept. 28 memorandum on the celebration of Halloween in the Diocese of Tulsa.
Halloween has origins in the Catholic liturgical calendar, he said, but the customs surrounding it have “drifted from the feast’s intended meaning and purpose.” The name itself derives from the archaic English phrase “All Hallows’ Evening,” referring to the Eve of All Saints. Since All Saints can begin with evening prayer the night before, Halloween is the feast’s “earliest possible celebration.”
“While the ‘Gothic’ aspect of Halloween reminds us of Christian teaching about the resurrection of the dead, our culture often represents this in a distorted manner, for when the dead are raised they will in truth be ‘clothed with incorruptibility’,” said Bishop Konderla.
When separated from Catholic teaching, the holiday’s grim, ghoulish, or “Gothic” costumes can be mistaken as “celebration or veneration of evil or of death itself, contradicting the full and authentic meaning of Halloween.”
“For the Christian, Christ has conquered death, as has been prophesied and fulfilled,” he said. “Christ has conquered death by his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the Paschal Mystery whose graces are evident in the glory of all saints.”
The bishop also discussed the custom of dressing up as Christian saints.