Halloween Scares Up Advice on French Episcopate´s Web Page

Happiness of All Saints Should Overshadow the Season, Bishop Says

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PARIS, OCT. 30, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The fears and ghosts of Halloween shouldn´t scare parents away from telling children about "the meaning and implications of this holiday."



That´s the advice of the French bishops´ conference, which addresses the macabre holiday at its Web page (http://www.cef.fr).

Halloween is an ancient celebration of Celtic origin, observed in Anglo-Saxon countries. Tradition says the night of Oct. 31 is propitious for the return of spirits and witches.

The night of trick-or-treating, which precedes All Saints´ Day and All Souls´ Day, can be an opportunity to explain to children "how the Church has freed us from these fears and ghosts," writes Bishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont.

"For centuries, it has emphasized on All Saints´ Day the hope of the Resurrection and the joy of those who have placed the beatitudes at the center of their lives," he states.

However, he acknowledges, "it is correct to say that the efforts of the Church have met with strong resistance."

"For some, death ... can only be handled by laughter," the bishop continues. "However, in the end the skeletons have the last word: They come to see the living to announce their destiny to them and entice them to the kingdom of darkness. This is Halloween."

"For others, death is a reality that one must be able to accept. It is a passage. After Christ´s resurrection, we are on the way to the Holy City, where the immense multitude of those who have been sanctified by the Lord awaits us," the bishop adds. This is celebrated on All Saints´ Day, Nov. 1.

Bishop Simon suggests that one should explain to children the passage from the gloomy, hopeless night of spirits, to the brilliance transmitted by the saints who enjoy the infinite happiness of heaven.