Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Was Wrong(ed)

Had a fruitful conversation with a fellow Catholic co-worker today. This co-worker asked if I had my kiddies out Trick or Treating. I kinda played low-key and just described how we had a subdued night handing out candy and the kids enjoyed that but, to be frank, I really don't do Halloween.

When you blurt out that you don't do Halloween, everybody knows what you are talking about. (I had previously blurted it out in a conference room full of people, they got the message.) There have been allegations that the origins of Halloween lie in satanic or pagan practices. Come to find out, this is what the Protestants think. This is consistent what their thought about the whole the Roman Catholic Church. Conversely, I used to think Halloween was some sort of British-Protestant mockery of All Souls Day.

My Catholic co-worker protested that Halloween was wholly Catholic in origin. She cited cited the teaching of her priest that weekend and made references to mutual friends of ours, rabid Calvinsts, who have put the all-out ban on Halloween.

I have to admit that I just quickly looked up Haloween three days prior by going to WIKIPEDIA. That was my first mistake. That web sites paints Haloween as wholly pagan in origin and I suspect, now, that the entry was written by a pagan. In a funny way, most Protestants probably voted in favor of this WIKIPEDIA entry as is. (WIKIPEDIA is an online encyclopedia where the entries get edited and voted on by users.)

The Catholic Enyclopedia at NewAdvent.org paints a wholly different picture.

Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year.

In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407). At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honoured by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Calendar a "Commemoratio Confessorum" for the Friday after Easter. In the West Boniface IV, 13 May, 609, or 610, consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary. Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November. A basilica of the Apostles already existed in Rome, and its dedication was annually remembered on 1 May. Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. The octave was added by Sixtus IV (1471-84)

I even checked a far-out sedevacantist website and they were in agreement. Halloween: It's a Roman Catholic thing. Not the blood and gore, that's the Satanists, pagans and protestants on furtive nights out. But the whole candy, trick or treat, festive atmosphere. It's a fun night for kids, the night before a Solemn Holy Day: November 1st All Saints Day.

I was wrong and WIKIPEDIA wronged me.

2 comments:

Kasia said...

And apparently Pink-related spam has wronged you too!

It's an easy mistake to make - Wikipedia is seductive, but we don't necessarily think about its credibility. At least I don't. People usually say "Try Wiki" and I've become so accustomed to hearing that that I often go right there. Shame on me. :-)

Thomas Shawn said...

He, he, he I deleted that crap but I heartily thank the spammer who reminds me to post something about this "Pink."

yeah, so little time, so many things to do. I looked up Halloween on Wiki and got snookered.

The amazing thing is that this came up again the workplace and someone repeated word for word what Wiki wrote. Amazing!

I guess the bottom line is this: Who is writing your encyclopedia?