Halloween returns punctually like every year, with confectioners’ shops adorned with pumpkins, pumpkin-shaped treats, candy-coloured tombs, witches and rocking skeletons, while restaurants and cafés offer Halloween-themed dinners and meals. Is it just a formidable commercial phenomenon – according to Confesercenti (Italian confederation of traders and hotel owners) over 17 million Italians are involved in this 260 million-euro-worth market – or does this pumpkin-and-witch night hide something else? We turned the question to Fr. Paolo Morocutti, professor of general Psychology and Theology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and exorcist of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Palestrina, who said: “Every cultural model stems from a concrete anthropological fact and finds application in the life of individuals determining lifestyles and behaviours. A cultural model that celebrates death and ugliness can only be harmful because
the human soul is inherently devoted to beauty.”
Is this vocation to beauty an exclusive prerogative of Christian thought?
No, it has always formed part of the universal heritage of anthropological thought. From classical culture to the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre to the thought of the Jewish philosopher Levinas – to cite some of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century – we find an implicit need for beauty. And while beauty is beneficial to the human soul, obscurity distances it from its vocation.
What mistake is made in the comprehension of this phenomenon?
The error is to create a conflict between cultural and spiritual reality. This is a very serious mistake because they are two facets of the same coin. To conduct his activity as conscience-deceiver,
the evil one must find an anthropological space to influence mankind
and human behaviour, whereby the preferential option is to affect cultural models,
by deceiving others into believing in the goodness of what is not and that evil things are actually good.
The “Halloween” phenomenon should not become a pretext for a confrontation between culture and faith. Rather, it should serve to resume the much needed dialogue between faith and culture, in order to shed light on what is truly beneficial to the development of an integral humanism, and to combat this sick culture. We must seriously monitor cultural models to ensure they are beneficial and not harmful to mankind.
Which concrete steps do you suggest?
Specifically, Christians and the Church must seriously listen especially to those called on by the Church herself, with a specific mandate and formation, to deepen and interpret these phenomena. I am referring to the exorcist priests who have received this mandate from their bishops. The that I am a member of, has spoken out on several occasions in recent years to explain that
This phenomenon is linked to a veritable esoteric and anti-Christian movement.
We must, of course, make the necessary distinctions. One thing is the teenager who unconsciously lends himself to a flawed cultural model that transmits subliminal messages incompatible with the Christian faith; quite different are the esoteric organizations, or even those linked to the cult of Satan, that nowadays are involved in all forms of blasphemy and desecration. Obviously, in both cases, decisive action must be taken, but clearly we are dealing with different situations, albeit connected by the subtle thread that the evil one tirelessly weaves in order to convey false messages and messages contrary to the Christian faith.
It appears that some parishes have offered the use of their own facilities. What is your opinion?
I find it unreasonable, incomprehensible and profoundly wrong. We are talking about a festivity that is not really a festivity and has no neutral or harmless message. The solemnity of All Saints has been almost completely replaced by this new macabre recurrence, and the saddest thing is to see that some of our Christian communities lend themselves to this cultural and spiritual degradation. As Christians we are called to proclaim the beauty and goodness of life that for us was made fully visible in Jesus of Nazareth, not to open our doors to the culture and exaltation of what is macabre and to death.
How can we understand if a culture is at the service of evil?
In order to give a positive and balanced opinion on this phenomenon it is necessary to know how to interpret it . This requires listening to those who have the tools to do so. Once again I wish to highlight the fundamental
pedagogical and educational role of exorcists
who agree that this phenomenon is closely linked to the world of the occult and the adoration of Satan. The data provided by the Ministry of the Interior on the presence of sects of Satanic inspiration in our Country are impressive. The culmination of this phenomenon linked to the cult of Satan is the profanation of the Eucharistic species. These rituals reach a peak in the night of All Saints’ Day. Based on their personal experience, all exorcists are aware that
this is the night of profanation.
Moreover, not only the night of All Saints’ Day, but the entire period preceding it is a preferential time for many young people to connect with the world of the occult through massive media propaganda, especially online. The hype is such that people are no longer able to distinguish what is only in bad taste from what can be really dangerous. After all, minimizing, downsizing and ridiculing a phenomenon is typically diabolical, claiming it to be harmless when in fact it is not. The Christian community is called upon to address this grave educational alarm, a veritable battle, that must be fought
with the weapon of the evangelization of consciences
to restore a Christian humanism devoted to the culture of beauty and truth.