Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The origin of Christmas is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The origin of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ - as the origin of Good Friday is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

These are origins that are absolutely historical and absolutely supernatural. They are, in a more real sense, origins that are historical because they are supernatural - being neither merely historical nor merely supernatural. They are origins based in singular events.

Halloween has no such origin. This obvious statement is not made to the severely normal who already know it, but to the professional online Catholic apologists who, in their obsessive eagerness to show through a collation of factoids that Halloween is sooooooooo Catholic, end up doing nothing but make it look like Halloween is the third most important celebration in the Catholic Church after Easter and Christmas. Which, to be even more obvious, does nothing but denigrate Easter and Christmas into relativistic culture pie and culturally relativistic mish-mash. Like, everything's Catholic man; pass the bong.

As they all well understand, it's not even on the Catholic celebration roster. It's just the eve of a feast day - a feast day that used to be regarded with more importance than it is now. In Canada, All Saints Day is not even a holy day of obligation, which is sad.

One could even say that Halloween as we know it does not have an origin in any sense of the word. Definitely not in the sense of having an origin in an event. Certainly not an event as those originating Christmas and Easter; but neither an event that is merely historical, for any event that went into the Halloween weave through the years (such as Guy Fawkes) was no event of origin. It's just this kind of open-ended cultural phenomenon coming together, and yet coming together in no fully realized form or meaning, through strange meeting points in history.

It's more a long mutating string, or coalescing strings, of various practices, from various continents, from various times, all of them purely cultural, without any one event of origin; but the apologists point to them as though it were as definitively - nay, dogmatically - Catholic as the Apostolic line. (And God forbid you apostatize on the dogma of Halloween.) Their final, solid, resounding claim of the Catholic "origin" of Halloween, through pointing to the patchwork of past historical currents, is actually just as tenuous and hybridized today as it was back then.

The so-called puritanical person who suspects Halloween as so much ingratiation towards evil has in fact just as much a say (as much as one may disagree with him), based on the evidence of his eyes, as those who say that Halloween is soooooooo Catholic, without nary a one of them being any less Catholic or any more heretical than the other (though I'll put my money on the latter as the heretic). Why? Because they are both purely cultural appraisals about something that is, in its "origins" (which, again, are not origins really but meeting points between running historical developments), purely cultural.

I have fond memories of Halloween as a kid. I think it's great for kids to dress in costumes and trick-or-treat, and for adults to dress in costumes and to blow off fireworks and to party. Do I feel the need to defend it as being soooooooo Catholic? No. That it is merely All Hallows Eve (which just happens to be very culturally open-ended) is good enough for me. It's also a pretty good way of not becoming attached to it. It seems there are some though, like certain Potterheads, who simply cannot stand it for a second to have their entertainments questioned, even remotely. It's quite sad and pathetic.

At the end of the day there will still be seasoned Veterans who don't like watching war films, and Holocaust survivors who can't stand the sight of firearms, and people who have been awash in the occult, or been in contact with serious demonic infestation, who have reservations about what they see going on on Halloween. The day I would say to any of them that their suspicions make them puritanical and that they are just sooooooooo not Catholic and need to get more with it would be the day you find me at a big jubilant tent revival, jumping around and shouting, "Alleluia! I've seen the light!"

There are some things where it's better to just say that it's fun, and that that is the reason. Let the Catholic cards fall where they may.

Because, as it is, I just don't really believe that the neighbours down the street with their front plastic graveyard sets and polyester spider webs that they purchased at Wal-mart are exercising the same cathartic impulse to face the inevitability of death as those who painted scenes of the dance macabre during the Bubonic Plague. Just a hunch I have.

(But for fun? Good enough for me.)

And because I don't like the dictatorship of relativism that's being pawned off as Catholicism.

Hey, I just said 'Catholicism'!

I deserve a candy bar for that!

Hey! I just said 'candy bar'!

I'm so highfalutin.

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