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Jewish Journal

Pumpkins and popes

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 1, 2009 | 5:18 pm

Halloween is over, thus ending my run as Dr. Tobias Funke. It was pretty hopping in my neighborhood last night, where I previously noticed this pumpkin. (Anti-Semitic?) As usual, there was plenty of newsink spilled over the celebration of unholiness. But did the Vatican really “condemn” All Hallows’ Eve?

Tmatt says no:

First there’s the headline. Does the Vatican ever take a more nuanced stance on anything besides condemning?

But that’s beside the point. Read the story and see if you can find any material that is actually from the Vatican. Instead we get:

The Vatican issued the warning through its official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an article headlined “Hallowe’en’s Dangerous Messages”. The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: “Hallowe’en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.”

Parents should “be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death,” said Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites.

OK, in addition to the problem with identifying the newspaper with the teaching authority of the Vatican, the article also misses a key point: Is the Vatican warning parents about Halloween, or about certain types of costumes and celebrations linked to Halloween? After all, the language — from a priest on a Spanish, not Vatican, commission — suggests that there are beautiful and wholesome ways to celebrate the holiday. Right?

Read on. There are other voices quoted and none of them are Vatican officials, let alone Vatican officials who make pronouncements on doctrinal matters.

Any other Halloween stories worth noting out there?

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