The Spanish Catholic Church is warning Christians about the growing popularity of the “pagan”, and “not Christian”, festivity of Halloween. The director of the Liturgical Commission of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Father Joan Maria Canals, has criticized the parents who pressure their children to don fancy dress for the celebration of Halloween, saying they ought instead to encourage their participation in the celebration of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Dead. “Young children dress up as witches, vampires, and ghosts; they wear the masks of cadavers and skeletons – said Fr. Canals in an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo. Parents ought instead to encourage the participation of their children in the Christian days of festivity that have to do with the signs of death and life in holiness. The paradoxical thing is that when a member of the family dies, these same parents prevent their children from seeing his/her dead body”. In actual fact – points out the Spanish liturgist, the feast of All Saints on 1st November and that of the Dead on the following day, during which Spanish family traditionally visit the tombs of their loved ones, “is a feast that glorifies life and not death”. And he adds: “Christian piety suggests a visit to the cemetery to pray for our loved ones and for the families that suffer the pain of separation from them”. Father Canals also observes that “on pedagogical grounds, it is essential children discover the value of life and holiness and not be encouraged to evoke death”, with face masks and fancy dress.
The Bishop of Sigüenza-Guadalajara, the Most Rev. José Sanchez, goes even further, declaring that Halloween “is not an innocent festivity” because it is based on the occult and anti-Christian propaganda”.