Catholic bishops in England and Wales are urging parents to dress up their kids as popular saints rather than as witches and devils, in order to show their faith. By "their" faith I mean the parents' faith of course. So once again we see a bunch of high-ranking religious leaders with a clever idea about how to influence the popular culture in a more godly direction.
Youngsters should be made to look like St. George, St. Lucy, St. Francis of Assisi or St. Mary Magdalene rather than celebrate death or evil or occult figures, according to a campaign endorsed by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
Adults are encouraged to place lights in their window "as a sign to passers-by that yours is a Christian household and Christ is your light" and to wear a white garment to symbolize their "allegiance to Christ, our light."
They should not carve menacing or scary faces into pumpkins, but give them smiley expressions and crosses cut into the foreheads instead, the campaign advises.
Of course they have every right to say these things, especially to their own believers, and at least they're not calling for laws to ban the pagan-ish celebration of Hallowe'en - with its elements of Celtic folklore, Hollywood movies, and Zeus knows what else. All the same, there's something about all this that seems a bit pompous, humorless, and just plain silly.
I hope that none of our local Catholic parents here in Australia get it into their heads to make their kids dress up on the 31st of October to look like Francis of Assisi or Mary Magdalene (however, exactly, they are supposed to have looked).