Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween: Another secularization of a Catholic tradition

Tribulation Times
October 31, 2014  
(1Co 12:24-27) But our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, giving to that which wanted the more abundant honour. That there might be no schism in the body: but the members might be mutually careful one for another. And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it: or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.
Communion of saints
Since the dawn of Christianity with Christ's death and resurrection around 33 A.D., the Church has commemorated its martyrs, and the feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day have grown out of that.

"It seems that it comes from the Eastern part of the Roman Empire a little before 400 A.D., and then spread to the West," Msgr. Witt said. "By this time, we had gone through three centuries of martyrdom, but in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine ended that with a needing of tolerance and then a little later Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire so there were no more persecutions for the most part."

But there had been many before, and hence the need to recognize them en masse. Martyrs had been commemorated on the anniversary of their martyrdom but with so many of them in so many areas, that became unwieldy.

"This was a time to begin commemorating all of them," Msgr. Witt said. "Beside the ones we know about, there were thousands of others who had given their lives for Christ, so this put them all in together."

The commemoration initially was called the Feast of All Martyrs and celebrated in May. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III renamed it All Saints and moved the date to Nov. 1, according to the Original Catholic Encyclopedia. It was a regional celebration until Pope Gregory IV in the ninth century made it a universal feast day for the universal Church.

The vigil -- All Hallows Eve, Hallowe'en, then Halloween -- was celebrated as early as the Feast of All Saints, according to the encyclopedia.

Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day are such a big deal because they represent the hat trick of souls in heaven, purgatory and earth as well as the links between them -- aka the communion of saints.

"They talk in terms of the Church having three categories," Msgr. Witt said. "The saints are the Church Triumphant. They're victorious; they've arrived (in heaven). Those in purgatory are the Church Suffering; they haven't gotten there yet. For those of us who are living, they used to use the term 'Church Militant.'"

In other words, we have a ways to go.

"We don't use that terminology anymore, but it's still all there," Msgr. Witt said. "It's wrapped up in the feasts on November first and second."

The Church Triumphant and the Church Militant offer prayers for the Church Suffering, that they may be cleansed and join the saints in heaven. The Church Militant also venerates the Church Triumphant, asking the saints to intercede with God on their behalf so that they may join them one day in heaven.
During November Holy Church promotes prayers for the souls in purgatory. The souls in Purgatory are members of the Church just like we are but of the Church “Suffering”. We are members of the Church “Militant”, and we are like soldiers on the march through the world on the way with our Great Captain towards our heavenly home to join the members of the Church “Triumphant”. We can help the souls in Purgatory through our good works as assigned by the Church, who has the authority from Christ to apply to them the merits of His Passion and death, and the merits of the saints.

A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd) All Souls Day.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd)
  • Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
  • Say one “Our Father” and the “Creed” in the visit to the church
  • Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions
  • Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
  • Make a sacramental confession within a week of All Souls Day
  • For a plenary indulgence one must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).
To obtain a Plenary Indulgence for a soul in Purgatory on each of the days from 1-8 November
  • make a good Confession within a week of before or after All Souls Day
  • be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, for a plenary indulgence
  • visit a cemetery and pray for the dead
  • say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the monthly intentions set by the Pope
  • receive Holy Communion worthily on the same day or soon after
Several indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single confession but only one may be gained after a single good reception Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

If you are not correctly disposed or if you don’t fulfill the prescribed works and/or the three conditions the indulgence will be partial and not plenary.
The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion

103. A hermit said,"If some distracting dispute arises between you and another, and the other denies it and says, "I said no such thing," do not argue with him or say, "You did say it." For he will be exaperated, and will say, "Very well, and I meant it."'

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