What is being much discussed today, as is often the case in mid-to-late October in Catholic circles, is “What to do with Halloween?” I discussed this in an article last week.
But there is so much more to say…
This year, the Feast of Christ the King, designated by Pope Pius XI to be celebrated just before Hallowtide, falls directly on the day of Halloween, the Eve of All Saints, for which there is a special Vigil Mass.
This convergence can bring a tremendous amount of clarity as to the spiritual status of Halloween in our culture today – a festival for which the excitement in occultic circles has achieved a fever pitch.
As it is an element of Hallowtide, many want to preserve Halloween and purify it of the evil that has latched on to it. As it is an important day in Satanism and witchcraft, many want to abandon it as a mere tradition that no longer has the symbolic power to turn men closer to God.
However, we are not at a moment in the history of our culture or country at which we can afford to surrender a day to Satan, nor avoid suffering worse repercussions than we have already suffered from the modern onslaught of the occult.
Hell’s Hijacking of Halloween
Exorcists have been warning about the dangers of Halloween for decades. Halloween is a sort of “magical new year’s eve” during which time Satanists and witches carry out their rituals with a special vigor and determination. Some exorcists have also noted that those who are possessed, and those who are working on a team as assistants to exorcists, are attacked in stronger ways on Halloween.
Can occultists actually benefit and increase in evil by their rituals, in particular on Halloween? The power that Satanists and witches acquire is based on the degree of their connection with the diabolic and the decision by the demon to give or do what is asked. Certain rites bind Satanists and witches more intimately to the demons whom they serve in these rituals. The power of this binding is sin.
The demons are not required to do anything in exchange for rituals and sacrifices, but they choose to do so because it encourages the witches to continue to sin. Since the diabolical realm is very legalistic, they know that, once a Satanist or witch invokes them, that individual is sinning mortally, and the demon is permitted greater access to them, even to the extent of attacking them spiritually or physically. The demons have no power, of course, unless God gives them permission.
The Danger of the Encroaching Occult
When neighborhoods embrace a perverted attention to death and the “spooky,” adorning their homes with dismembered bodies, images of torture, figures headed toward damnation, horror and blood-lust, or mockery of the sacred, the servants of Hell are done a great favor. None of these images serve to orient the soul that beholds them toward Heaven and a greater desire for holiness. Instead, all of these images serve to frighten and instill fear, to harm the mind of the impressionable and to illicit anxiety and sadness.
It is in emotional reactions such as these, particularly in those who do not seek to be pleasing to God, nor pray to Him, that the demons who roam the earth can find their entry points. Fear disturbs the mind and makes man inclined to evil: sin and superstition, magic and control over the world, quick fixes to their problems. This is so because, without God, we tend toward despair, believing that there is nowhere for us to turn for aid and comfort.
The demons present themselves as the solution to the problems which burden men, if the latter will simply bind themselves to them by worship or sacrifice. Demons offer and are able to grant men power and earthly fortune and success. This comes at the cost of their souls, of course, for they demand that the person commits a mortal sin in order to receive their assistance, and the act of invoking a demon is itself a mortal sin. At a time when the youth and the rest of the culture which have become spiritually unmoored from the One True God, we can understand why this offer of assistance from the diabolical is so intriguing to them.
Taking Sides on Halloween
The occult does not seek to bring joy at Halloween but terror. Christ, however, brings light and victory to the oppressed and fearful. When we celebrate Halloween, decorate our homes, make costumes for our children, watch movies, listen to music, and inaugurate the festivities of the night, do we establish a beacon of divine Light or a citadel of occultic evil?
Satan is a fear-mongerer, as the Rite of Exorcism highlights. We should all heed the advice this Rite implicitly gives to us all.
As it states, in the prayers wielded by the priest in the exorcism, by falling prey to “the craftiness of the devil, the ancient adversary, the archenemy of the earth,” the possessed person suffers from an onslaught of torment. The devil “enshrouds the person in shuddering fear,” “renders the mental faculties befuddled,” “keeps him bewildered by making him sore afraid,” “holds him in a state of perturbation,” and “strikes terror within him.”
In combat against this effect of the devil, the Church, through her priests, prays for the possessed, asking Our Lord to “keep watch over his reason,” “rule over his emotions,” “bring cheer to his heart,” and “cause the one who has terrorized us to now himself fly terror-stricken.”
Let the Servants of Hell Take Note
The readings and prayers of the Vigil Mass for All Saints is a teaching moment for those who wish to “take over” Halloween with the rites and invocations of evil, and likewise to those Catholics who believe the beginning of Hallowtide is lost to the encroachment of the expanding reign of Satan and the spread of the occult.
In this Mass, the Epistle, Revelation 5:6-12, presents us with the immortal “Lamb standing as it were slain,” which is “worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.” This reading, in the context of the surrounding occultic worship of demons, should be turned into a proclamation before the servants of Hell, who have traded the Almighty God, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, for the wisdom and knowledge and strength obtainable by recourse to the occult.
“Honor and glory and benediction” is to be proclaimed with specific fervor, for Satan and the demons long to be looked upon in that way by mankind, and to be granted these things themselves. Satan’s fall involved a self-worship and a desire to be adored as a god himself, and it is this that he seeks when he draws men into his service in the occult, and into his dominion through fear and sin.
Halloween, then, is the cosmic battle between the Church and Satan in miniature.
The Epistle continues, stating that, “by Thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” As the army of evil and perversion is arrayed and brandishes their weapons on Halloween, we are called to behold the army and kingdom of glory and holiness into which, by the Blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, we have been called, and which will blaze in all its glory the following day on the Solemnity of All Saints.
The proclamation of His sacrifice, set against those of the occult, and the power He wields to transform souls, can serve as a shot across the bow, aimed to interrupt the dancing and merriment of the servants of Hell at Halloween.
In the Gospel (Luke 6:17-23), we are shown that a “great multitude” gathered around Our Lord, similar to the “thousands of thousands” of angels who gathered around His throne in the Epistle. Here, for these men on earth, He healed their diseases and drove out their demons, and all clamored around Him, seeking to touch Him “for power came forth from Him and healed them all.”
Again, set against the night in which evil seeks to triumph, the Church holds out to the faithful and, through them, to the whole world, the power of Christ in their midst, Who still today wields the power to heal them and drive out the demons from their midst.
If we cower in fear this night as the ghouls and ghastlies howl from the shadows, we will deny the power of Christ on earth and deprive those who are lost from encountering the redemption He offers.
Christ is the King on Halloween – Every Year
This year, 2021, it seems the Catholic community is being given some assistance in our discernment of what Halloween is supposed to be, for, this year, the Feast of Christ the King lands on this controversial day. However, as Pius XI said, perhaps this is the way it is supposed to be: “before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect.” This is a ‘Papal nudge’ for our conversation.
The Collect for Christ the King asks: “grant that all the families of the Gentiles separated by the wound of sin, may be subjected to His most loving dominion.” How perfect is that request when, on Halloween, the Church is reminded of how deep in sin and separation from God the world at large currently is!
It is on this first day of Hallowtide – when Catholics are thinking of Heavenly glory, the burden of sin and its consequences, and the need for charity both to gain access to Heaven and to aid our departed brethren in the fires of Purgatory – that we are also called to pray for all who are separated from grace, who roam after the idols of this world, that they may be healed and brought into Christ’s kingdom of light.
In the Epistle for Christ the King (Col. 1:12-20), we hear of Christ, “Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
The power of darkness, by which mankind is tempted every moment of the year, and which dares to take unto itself a “new year’s eve” to manifest its darkness, is reminded that Christ, who, as the Epistle states, “reconciles all things unto Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross,” has delivered us from its grasps.
Not only is Christ the creator of the heavenly hosts, “whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers” [Epistle], He is also the victor over those hosts who fell from grace and rebelled against Him. None, whether angel or man, can prevent Him from translating us from the power of darkness, of which Satan is the prince, and into the kingdom of light.
In the Gradual (Psalm 71:8,11), we hear, “His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and His kingdom that shall not be destroyed.” This power and kingship, as the Gospel states, is not “of this world” nor “from the world” but is true and eternal, of a power that originates in God and not in the theatrics and deceits of the fallen powers in this world.
A Day to Bear Witness – Light against the Darkness
Further, the Gospel (John 18:33-37) reminds us that Our Lord said, “For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth.”
Thus, on Halloween, in imitation of the Master, we should be bearing witness to His Truth, letting the light of Christ dominate over evil; for we are truly in a state of war and must give no ground to the Enemy, nor let him encroach further on our Holy Feasts!
In the face of such opposition from the Kingdom of Satan, we ought to heed carefully the advice of St. Paul, who states (2 Cor. 10:3-5):
For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
The power of God is sufficient to destroy the activity of those who rebel against the Kingdom of God, and, by this divine power, we, as coworkers with Christ, can destroy every manifestation of the proud spirits, and those who, enslaved to their power, are unbelieving or rebellious against the Faith. As St. Thomas Aquinas says, in his commentary on this passage, “the conversion of unbelievers to the faith” is the second effect of this “divine power to destroy strongholds,” which St. Paul points to with the phrase, “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
St. Thomas references Sirach 6:25, the counsel to embrace Divine wisdom, as an example of what is meant by “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” What we ought to be proclaiming to the culture on Halloween, to our lost friends, to those who will listen, is what Sirach says, “Give ear, my son, and take wise counsel, and cast not away my advice. Put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chains.” These fetters and these chains are the teachings of the Faith, the easy yoke and the light burden that Our Lord places on us through His Covenant.
Thus, let Halloween be the day of Christ the King, the day of judgment upon evil and of celebration of grace; a day to recommit ourselves to the work of holiness; to renew our Baptismal vows, to bless our homes, to renew the Enthronement and consecration our homes to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, to celebrate light in the darkness with blessed bonfires, to adorn our homes and lands with the abundance of sacramentals offered to us – to prepare both as warriors adorned with “the armor of God” and servants and sons seeking to be pleasing and welcoming to the King.
In so doing, we will cooperate with the desires of God, who, as the Secret prayer for the feast of Christ the King states, “will bestow on all Gentiles the gifts of unity and peace.” If we become like John the Baptist, “a voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths,” we will become the prophets we are meant to be, to a world who desperately needs the light of Christ.
Photo: Iglesia de Sta. Ethelgreda. Londres via Cathopic.
Charles D. Fraune was the founding Theology teacher of Christ the King Catholic High School in Huntersville, NC and was a Theology teacher there for ten years. He now works full-time with his Slaying Dragons Apostolate, writing and researching on topics related to spiritual warfare. He has a Master of Arts in Theology from the Christendom College Graduate School, as well as an Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma. He is the author of Come Away By Yourselves, a guide to prayer for busy Catholics, Swords and Shadows: Navigating Youth Amidst the Wiles of Satan, and Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know (also in Spanish). He lives in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC with his wife and three young children.