Every Halloween, in the midst of costumed monsters, princesses and movie star look-alikes, there is also bound to be the occasional nun or priest costume with a twist. Costumed nuns might appear pregnant, sexy or as skeletons while priest costumes range from drunks to zombies.
But costumes mocking religious figures just aren’t funny, according to an article in The Valley Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas.
“It’s a sign of disregard, of disrespect for people of faith,” said Sister Nancy Boushey of the Benedictine Monastery of the Good Shepherd in Rio Grande City, Texas, whose members wear habits. “It takes an authentic call from God and makes a mockery of it, no matter what the faith is, whether it’s Jewish or Catholic or any other faith.”
Some might view these costumes as harmless fun, but Father Gregory T. Labus, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Edinburg, Texas, said they form minds in a nageative way, akin to the effects of watching inappropriate shows on television.
“I would say it’s a similar kind of case with costumes, especially with very young minds. Pregnant nuns or whatever, it’s disrespectful and it’s forming an impression that is not good. … Personally, I would say that Christian families should avoid that sort of thing.”
That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place to dress up like a religious, without the mocking edge, of course.
The priest pointed out that some churches and Catholic schools encourage children to dress up as their favorite saint for Halloween or the next day – All Saints’ Day. He said these costumes may entail respectfully dressing up as a priest or religious sister but “usually there is some catechesis that goes with it.”
With all the candy consumption and scary decorations that go with Halloween, it might be hard to get back to the holiday’s religious roots, which are outlined in the St. Anthony Messenger magazine.
The article reminds its readers that All Hallow’s Eve — the night before the celebration for All Saints’ Day – eventually was shortened to Halloween. The purpose of these feasts ”is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the communion of saints, which reminds us that the church is not bound by space or time.”
It also reminds readers of something that might get lost in the Halloween frenzy — what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say.
It says through the communion of saints a “perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.”
That’s something to think about either in the costume store or long after the candy bars are gone.