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betrayal of faith Priest hits out at Halloween costumes for children as 'an avenue to the occult'

Catholic schools should focus on celebrating the saints 'instead of the demons' during Halloween, according to Fr Richard O’Connor

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Catholic schools should focus on celebrating the saints “instead of the demons” during Halloween, according to a Rome-based professor of theology.

Fr Richard O’Connor, a priest of the Diocese of Kerry who teaches in the Pontifical Angelicum University, described children dressed up as demons and devils as a “complete betrayal of the Christian faith”.

He told The Irish Catholic newspaper that he believed that dressing up as characters such as devils and witches can be “an avenue to the occult”.

“Certainly, have Halloween parties but have them centreed on the saints. I would expect Catholic schools to give the lead in that respect,” Fr O’Connor said.

“There’s great room for imagination, you take at Christmas, the school will have a little play centred on the nativity, and the kids love dressing up as shepherds, the three kings and all the rest of it. The same way you could have a party centered on the saints.”

Prof O’Connor added: “I would say certainly make a big thing of Halloween and have a great party but be celebrating the saints instead of the demons.”

The director of Living Church in the Diocese of Down and Connor, Paula McKeown, told the newspaper that Halloween can be a time to explain Catholic teaching about death and life after death.

“Let’s trust parents and their instincts. Parents approach Halloween with a sense of fun, but we can always draw children into the right traditions,” she said.

“Halloween can also be a time to explain Catholic teaching about death and life after death and what we believe. We are all parenting in what is a more secular age and you just take opportunities like Halloween to actually teach about your faith.

“I know in our own parish, we put out our ‘faith survival kit’ last week, and our colouring page absolutely had pumpkins and all the rest, but the message was ‘Do not fear God is always with you’. So, it’s about how you use what is happening in culture as a teaching moment as well,” she added.

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