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Halloween exposes people to ‘sadism, sexual violence, torture’

You may think it’s simply a spot of trick-or-treating but according to the Church’s Theological Commission, Halloween “runs contrary to the central belief of Christian eschatology”.

As a Church, we are warning parents of Halloween’s serious dangers

If you’re a Balzan resident, it is even worse. A note distributed to households by this parish warns parents that Halloween, celebrated on October 31, exposes people to “sadism, sexual violence, satanism, torture, mutilation and strange killing”.

The note, which parish priest Fr Kalċidon Vassallo confirmed was the parish’s doing, comes replete with a hand-drawn skull and pumpkin and warns readers that Halloween “celebrates a culture of death” and “attacks that which is holy”.

In boxed, bolded text, it says: “As a Church, we are warning parents of Halloween’s serious dangers. This feast is a dangerous celebration of fear and the macabre.”

It concludes with a motley list of “other things which draw children towards the occult”. The list includes heavy metal music, negative and fantastical role-playing, sadistic pornography and reading about the occult and Satan.

The note has gone viral on social networks such as Facebook, even provoking hilarity and sarcasm.

A Curia spokesman said when contacted it was unaware of the note and did not know where it came from although The Times subsequently confirmed it was drafted, printed and distributed by the Balzan parish.

Although the Curia avoided any direct reference to the note, it reiterated the note’s central tenets.

“Halloween is a neo-pagan feast that finds its origins in old pagan cults all over Europe. Halloween, in a most subtle way, focuses on death, the occult and evil spirits,” Fr Hector Scerri, president of the Church’s Theological Commission, said.

Fr Scerri contrasted the Church’s theology, which, he said, was based on light, eternal life and the beauty and goodness of God, with Halloween, which focused on darkness and the occult, evil spirits and “a macabre presentation of skeletons and bones”.

Fr Vassallo defended his parish note, saying it was based on a 2005 press release issued by the Archdiocese’s Commission on the Occult and Satanism. “The Commission stated it loud and clear: it would be better if Halloween were not celebrated.”

He insisted it was not overly alarmist. “It’s just stating the facts,” Fr Vassallo said. References to sexual violence, torture and sadism were there as warnings on what dabbling in the occult could lead to, he explained.

“Children dressing up or trick-or-treating do so innocently. But it’s good for parents to know that doing so might lead to these things,” Fr Vassallo said.

Despite its unorthodox language and imagery, Fr Vassallo’s note would appear to have the Vatican’s blessing. In 2009, an article in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano quoted a liturgical expert saying: “Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.” The article went on to warn parents to “be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death”.

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