Friday, October 31, 2008
Halloween and the Serious Habit
Dear Parish Faithful,
After teaching my class today, I went to the XU cafeteria for lunch (they make a decent gardenburger). A student actually approached me at my table and asked if she could trouble me with a quick question. I assured her that that was fine, and she asked me if it was "irreverent" to wear a nun's habit as a Halloween costume. I told her, I'm not so sure we have to call it "irreverent," but that I would consider it to be "inappropriate." Being a nun is a very special vocation, and it may be years before a woman is actually tonsured and clothed in a monastic habit. This comes after many great interior struggles and temptations; much fasting and prayer, probably accompanied by tears of joy and despair; and a deep searching of the heart. So the nun's habit is not to be worn or treated lightly. I would probably say the same about "dressing up" as a priest. I told her it is not really a burning issue, but if one of my parishioners asked me the same question, I would try and discourage them. (Fortunately, I have never been asked that question by a parishioner, here or elsewhere). Perhaps others think the same about vocations they are close to. I conveyed this all in an acceptable spirit, and we actually had a good talk.
As I have written earlier about Halloween, I believe that our children should not dress as "little devils," no matter how cute (and probably out-of-style these days); "witches," no matter how good; or anything too "evil" (Dark Vadar excepted, of course). The utter trivialization of such images obviously removes their "sting," but I am sure that there are many other and more appropriate costumes out there for those who "observe" Halloween. For adults who wear halloween costumes, I have "no comment ..." I'll let you know if I see anything particularly unusual 'trick-or-treating' at my door this evening!