HALLOWEEN IS 'DANGEROUS' SAYS THE POPE AS HE SLAMS 'ANTI-CHRISTIAN' FESTIVALUPDATED: 20:42 GMT, 30 October 2009
The Vatican attempted to put a brake on the growing popularity of Halloween yesterday, branding it anti-Christian and dangerous.
The condemnation follows criticism from Catholic bishops who this week urged parents not to let their children dress up as ghosts and goblins.
The Vatican spoke out on the eve of tonight's ritual which falls before the significant Catholic holy day of All Saints.
Former, Pope Benedict XVI, pictured in the Vatican, has slammed Halloween as 'dangerous'
Halloween is largely a secular celebration which has its origins in an ancient festival marking the start of the 'darker half of the year'.
But in an article entitled The Dangerous Messages of Halloween, the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano quoted liturgical expert Joan Maria Canals as saying: 'Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.'
Father Canals urged 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'.
More...L'Osservatore praised a church at Alcala de Henares in Spain which had decided to hold a prayer vigil on Saturday night and the Paris archdiocese's idea of having children play a lucky dip dubbed ' Holywins' instead. Last night, another Catholic group, the influential Association of Pope John XXIII, joined the condemnation, calling it a 'great Satanic ritual'.
It said: 'We appeal to the whole Catholic community not to promote this recourse to the macabre and the horrific.
'ALL PARENTS AND ALL THOSE THAT HOLD THE VALUES OF LIFE DEAR SHOULD KNOW THAT HALLOWEEN IS AN ADORATION OF SATAN, WHICH IS CARRIED OUT UNDERHAND THROUGH PARTIES AND GAMES FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS.'
The Catholic Church in Italy has taken a dim view of Halloween celebrations for years.
Aldo Bonaiuto, head of the Catholic Church's anti-occult and sect unit, warned parents of the dangers to children and said the event 'promotes the culture of death'.
He added: 'Halloween pushes new generations towards a mentality of esoteric magic and it attacks sacred and spiritual values through a devious initiation to the art and images of the occult. At best, it gives a big helping hand to consumerism and materialism.'