Do Not Fear the Dead
Instead of highlighting horrifying images of the dead, Filipinos should focus on remembering and loving those who have passed away as the country marks All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, an official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Saturday.
CBCP spokesperson Monsignor Pedro Quitorio reminded Filipinos that the fast-becoming popular practice of celebrating Halloween with all its horrifying images of ghosts and other spirits is a Western cultural import and not an original “Pinoy” tradition.
“I think it’s good that we should emphasize love for the dead, which is both cultural and doctrinal for the Pinoy,” Quitorio said in an interview.
“Halloween comes from the West and is not our culture. That is imported,” he added.
Unlike their ghastly portrayals in horror movies, Quitorio said that the dead should not be feared because they are “our loved ones” and “would not do anything to scare us.”
“The dead should not be feared as is being portrayed [in horror films]. They are loved ones and are in heaven,” Quitorio said.
“Those that create [paranormal activity], those are not the dead. It’s devil spirit because our loved ones will not do anything to scare us,” he added.
Quitorio said parents should also refrain from using the idea of ghosts to scare their children into submission.
“That should be improved. It should be like “Don’t do this because it’s really bad. It’s not because there is a ghost there or something,” he said.
“You are training the children in the context of fear or deception,” he added.
Quitorio said that priests were also expected to preach this November about “death, salvation, and the eternal life” before the Church begins its preparations for Christmas.
“Yes, that is part of the catechetical work of the parish. In our catechetical modules, we have there [lessons] about the last things. It talks about dying, life after death, salvation and eternal life. That is emphasized by the priests,” he said.
“It’s [taught] about this time… this November that we use eschatology or the catechesis about the dead,” he added.
Quitorio said that the Catholic faithful should attend Holy Mass or offer one for the dead, instead of simply lighting a candle, if they could not visit a loved one in the cemetery.
“The best is to offer Mass. So, go to Mass. Because if you just light a candle and you don’t go to Mass, then that’s nothing. The dead will get no benefit,” Quitorio said.
“The Mass is salvific. If your dead is in Purgatory, we believe that it will be able to help [alleviate] his suffering in Purgatory. Although we don’t know how long, but that is in the Bible,” he said.
“And lighting a candle is a symbolism that you are praying. What happens is you light the candle but you don’t pray so what’s there? It’s like putting up a house but only with scaffolding and not the entire house,” Quitorio added.
Final Note/Huling Hirit:
Halloween is indeed a Western tradition, but we adapted it because of our fascination with foreign practices.
Vampires, Ghosts, Goblins, Gremlins, Mutants, Werewolves, Mummies, “Kapres”, “Tikbalangs”, “Aswangs”, “Manananggals” and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo….I mean “Tiyanaks” are just examples of monsters that we fear because of mainstream movies also partly influenced by old cultural practices.
We also fear dead people or zombies (dead people that came back to life hunting and craving to have our brains as their meal) because of mainstream movies and TV shows.
But we should not be fearing these “man-made entities” that were obviously designed by malevolent minds just to frighten the less-informed, uneducated and illogical thinkers.
Fear should come more from the reality that some men have become “monsters” in dealing with his fellowmen, and many have also seemingly “died” and loss their will to clean up a molding and decaying society because of corrupted practices.
We should fear ourselves.