I was going to post on November being the month to remember the Poor Souls, but heard Dr. Ray talking about Halloween yesterday as I was driving home from dropping hubby off at the airport.
Looking back, it's kind of curious how life takes you different places. I was raised in the post Vatican II world and was poorly catechised. My poor parents were very devout but also were of the generation where no one imagined their children would not obtain a good grounding in their Faith if they received instruction at the parish.
During my junior high years, I was deeply immersed in the Charismatic Renewal. The meetings were at a Catholic Church with the parish priest in attendance, but there were many things that weren't Catholic. For example, I was taught that the Rapture was fact and our youth group regularly got together to watch, "Like a Thief in the Night." I've posted previously about my experiences with the Charismatic Renewal, but have been told there are some faithful Catholic Charismatic groups around. Personally, I would be very cautious on many levels.
Despite my parents' wonderful example, there was a time I was outside the Church. Not that I disagreed with the Church, but I had just slowly drifted out of the Church, knowing in my heart that I was in a state of mortal sin that would need to be resolved some day. When I started attending Mass regularly again, we were living in Seattle and there were no parishes that I felt comfortable at.
We looked all over the Seattle area and finally found a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic parish that we attended. As beautiful as that Rite was, it was also a rigorous way of life that most Western Rite (Roman Catholics) have a difficulty adjusting to, at least I did. And, since we were Roman Catholics, there was a rub with the priest who was antagonistic to the West.
That led us to a parish with the ancient Dominican Rite. Completely different than the Byzantine Rite, but incredibly beautiful and close to the TLM. The Mass was said in Latin by an elderly priest, it was a wonderful place for us until the Dominicans ordered that the priest cease and desist from saying the Mass because they were no longer teaching this, one of the most ancient Rites, any longer in their seminaries and, they claimed, it wasn't fair to offer this Mass for people today if the Rite might not be around tomorrow. A complete tragedy.
Soon after that, we moved back home to Minnesota. I had been back a year when my father passed away. A close friend of the family, a very rad trad, stepped into my life. Despite the diversions in my path, I had always been a pretty traddy Catholic. The influence of this friend started to pull my beliefs into the rad trad world. It was not a good place to be either, full of conspiracy theories and a lack of compassion, along with a smattering of judgmentalism.
Last year I was torn about what to do with Halloween. There were friends telling me how it was bad, very bad, while the rest of the secular world was out buying costumes and planning parties.
Some bloggers lament about "why they blog." In the past year of blogging, I may not have imparted much to others, but I have learned a lot. I have sort of come full-circle, moving to the middle of the road instead of hanging at the fringe (referring to Charismatics and rad trads, not Byzantines or Dominicans!).
I have found outward appearances can be deceiving and it's not for me to judge. It's what's in the heart that matters and that's where I need the most work.
So, we come to Halloween. My rad trad friends would be horrified to find that my kids are dressing up as a Power Ranger and a cute pink alien creature. My parish always has a "Saint Party" for Halloween where the kids dress up as their favorite saint. That's all fine and good, but I don't think we will be able to attend many of those parties because my kids aren't dressed as saints. I'm not saying that people that take their kids to these parties are rad trads, not at all. All I'm saying is that my not taking my kids to these parties doesn't make us any less Catholic or mean that I'm sacrificing chickens in my basement.
Check out the following article by Father Augustine Thompson, O.P. that Dr. Ray mentioned on his show entitled, "The Truth About Halloween."
And, check out Ma Beck's great post from last year. It's a must read!