Ghosts are dangling from neighborhood porches. Scarecrows and pumpkins litter lawns, assorted witches fly their brooms into sturdy tree trunks, and costume stores have sprung up all over town. Love it or hate it, it’s almost Halloween.
When it comes to celebrating Halloween, Christians are incredibly polarized. Some (such as the Church of England) consider Halloween to be a “religious festival just like Christmas Eve.” Others condemn the holiday as pagan and satanic.
With all the hype about Halloween, we often forget that the name is a contraction of All Hallow’s Eve—the night before All Saint’s Day. Realizing that I know next to nothing about the idea of sainthood, I did some research. In the process, I found a very helpful site that explained a lot:
The Church, East and West, has always distinguished between worship (latria), given to God alone, and veneration (dulia), which may be given to the saints. The highest form of veneration (hyperdulia) is due to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If someone is treating a saint as one should treat God, then yes, that is idolatry. That being said, Catholics believe that the saints have a role in our lives, as intercessors on our behalf, because we are all united by our communion in Christ. The saints are continually praying for us and interceding on our behalf, on account of their closeness to Christ. This is because God is the God of the living, not of the dead. As such, asking a saint for intercession is no more idolatrous than asking a holy friend or pastor to pray for you.