It used to be at this time every year we would be inundated with horror movies and scary settings for maybe a week or so in preparation for that annual pagan holiday Halloween which today has become a billion dollar business. But recently the fine line between seasonal and common place has been blurred by the fact that horror films are with us 365 days a year. What is it with so many youth today wanting to be scared out of their wits? With each year producers and directors push the envelope further in trying to scare the daylights out of audiences who are gluttons for punishment. We can remember when "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" were as scarry as they come. Today, they're mild and pablum compared to the filth and satanic images projected into minds who can't seem to get enough. You see it not only in the movies, but in commercials and video games. The more violence, blood and gore, the better!
Or is it?!? Better for who? Would you believe satan? You better believe it for the evil one is fostering a generation that prides itself on demeaning others, on devaluing human life through the virtual reality of zapping someone or getting zapped in the mind-bending trips through mazes and dungeons of video games where death is heartless and the meaner, more aggressive one becomes, the better chance of survival. That's what these horror films preach - survival at all costs, even if it means sacrificing your brother or sister to save your own hide. Quite a contrast to Sunday's Gospel Message in Matthew 23, 37-40 in which Our Lord charges that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. That same message has been hammered home by His Holiness Pope John Paul II throughout his pontificate, especially in his catechesis talks over the past several weeks during his regular weekly Wednesday Papal Audiences. Yes, quite a contrast to the Halloween message being permeated by the media, Hollywood and Madison Avenue today. No wonder we are fostering a self-centered generation today. No matter how many values and virtues we have tried to instill in our children, the lure of the world is so powerful that it overshadows the good. It can be so frustrating when one turns on the television to enjoy a program like "Touched by an Angel" or a news program and be bombarded with promos for some of the most grotesque and, often times, obscene scenes of upcoming movies or TV programs where anything goes as they push it to the very edge and beyond. There was a tremendous brouhaha this past week over a scatological word uttered on "Chicago Hope" - something shocking for network TV but mild for cable and the movie genre. Heck, we can remember when the "I Love Lucy" Show could not even say the word "pregnant" or show one bed, let alone a bathroom of any kind. Today, bathrooms are as common place in films as the proverbial strip club scene where the stars are discussing a case they're investigating while amazon endowed strippers gyrate above them and behind them. Often the characters featured aren't paying any attention to the show, but the directors make sure the audience sees this gratuitous nudity. Why? Adam and Eve were embarassed at their nudity after their fall and rushed to cover up. Shouldn't we strive to do likewise and hope and encourage others to do the same? While the body is something beautiful God created, it is not to be considered an object or be leered at lustfully. When the temple of the Holy Spirit is treated as an object of lust then both the offender and the person placed in temptation are guilty of sin. But this escapes those who produce scurrilous magazines and films today.
Speaking of movies, teens can't seem to get enough nudity and sex in their films or on television in their daily entertainment menu. Each year producers, directors and writers, as well as the actors and actresses try to go a step further in shocking audiences. And speaking of shock, teens today are agog over "The Blair Witch Project", a psychological, badly produced mockumentary that scares the living daylights out of people. Why? Why do satanic movies such as "Seven" and the new "The Bone Collector" draw so many people into its clutches? Is lucifer that enticing? We would hope not. But take a look at Hollywood and the commercials today as well as the media. The whole Monica Lewinsky episode was leud and obscene and the media showed such a double standard in perpetuating the details on innocent youth that they are as guilty as the offenders - Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, the man who should set the example for virtue as the President of the United States. But we all know the latter is already in satan's clutches, having sold his soul to the devil and sentencing millions of innocent unborns to death as well as mocking the Ten Commandments. But how many others, especially our youth, have sold their soul to the devil by subscribing to this self-destructing culture of horror films and obscenity, the demeaning of human dignity?
The recent proliferation of pro wrestling is a good example of how far society has gone. Remember the Romans and the Christians? The gladiator mentality has permeated society today with these behemoths of the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling, two titans who vie for the youth's attention and dollars on competing cable networks several times a week with such frenetic titles as "Raw," "Nitro," and "Smackdown." Women parade to the ring in the skimpiest of costumes, leaving nothing to the imagination which is their intent in demeaning the dignity of womanhood. The more blood and gore, the more violence and head bashing the louder they roar as the fans are stirred into a frenzy by steroid-bulked warriors in briefs spilling out of the squared ring into the stands, aisles and lobbies pummeling each other with everything including the kitchen sink. The result: the fans clamor for more blood! They say pro wrestling is "sports entertainment" and that it's all scripted, in other words - fake. But satan is not fake, very much real. And this is the great charade he has pulled on the vast majority. When and where will it all end?
The tragedy of Colombine, and numerous other killings throughout the United States is a direct fallout of this violence, in-your-face frame of thinking. So many youths today have that sense of invulnerability that they fail to heed the warning signs, whether from their parents or teachers or priests. Pastors can preach every Sunday on the evils of this path so many choose to take, parents can counsel until they're blue in the face, teachers and others can warn them of the inherent dangers in following this course of violence, but they might as well be talking to a brick wall because this generation has, for the most part, tuned out their elders today. Why? Because of the influence of the entertainment industry today which fosters rebellion and disrespect for authority. Turn on almost any program and you're confronted with smart alek kids and teens who diss their parents and adults as totally out of touch ol' fogies. Watch the majority of commercials and if you understand even half of them and the message they're trying to convey, please let us know since we haven't a clue. And this from one who worked in the ad industry for fifteen years as a creative director, art director and copy writer for both nationally renowned and local accounts. The solid principles established by the advertising industry have been discarded in favor of confusion, MTV flashes and a gage on how far they can go to shock the viewer. How many beer ads or automobile ads are about the beer or cars they're promoting. Very few! Is there a clothing ad out there - especially for jeans - that has anything to do with the product itself or is it all subliminal sexual advertising promoting perversity?
Yes, satan must be having a field day. And the saddest part is that so many today haven't a clue what he's doing. They are unsuspecting sheep being fleeced by ol' hornhead. He has been very clever in his campaign to capture souls just as Pope Leo XIII was given to see in a vision in the latter part of the nineteenth century in which the evil one bartered with God for the last century of the millennium - his last hurrah, if you will, in which he would have carte blanche to roam the world seeking the ruin of souls. Free will would be put to the sternest of tests and to combat this, the good Sovereign Pontiff was inspired to compose the powerful Prayer of Saint Michael. It seemed to be working even during two terrible world wars, but it was after the Second Vatican Council that it mysteriously disappeared. In going through the documents and post-conciliar documents of Vatican II with a fine-tooth comb over the years, we have never, ever found one thing in the Council Fathers' recommendation to indicate they wanted to eliminate this vital prayer always recited by the priest after the final blessing at Mass. Tell us satan didn't have a hand in this? You bet he did and he influenced those who promulgated the "spirit of Vatican II" because what was decreed during the Council was from the Holy Spirit, what evolved afterwards, outside of the Council by discontents unhappy that the Council did not go far enough, was from the fallen spirits.
It is those same fallen spirits, led by the leading fallen angel satan or lucifer, who continue the deception in the Church today, working on both the far left and far right to foster insurrection, whispering in the ears of liberals and progressives that the Church is still too Catholic and needs to compromise more, allow women to be priests, accept homosexual behavior as normal, condone contraception and even be understanding of premarital and extramarital sex because after all "we're only human." The greatest lie he has been able to promulgate is that he doesn't exist. Therefore, the more he subliminally implants these thoughts in peoples' minds, the more modernists clamor for tolerance at the expense of the Gospel message and the Ten Commandments. Conversely, on the far right side there is a movement underfoot to throw the baby out with the bathwater, discarding Vatican II entirely and going back to the Council of Trent as the only authentic Conciliar authority. That is like discarding Fatima because of Lourdes and La Salette. They fail to realize Vatican II was necessary to deal with the decline of priestly vocations and the need for the laity to take a greater role in the Mystical Body of Christ. They demean the Novus Ordo Mass as illegitmate and pass judgment with nothing of Divine Revelation to back their charge. While the Novus Ordo has been greatly abused by priests ignorant of the true documents of Vatican II, it is still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass despite its nuances that leave those who loved the Tridentine Mass feeling a sense of emptiness because of the lack of reverence and the sense of the sacred. New music has cropped up, smothering the traditional hymns most cradle Catholics were weaned on, replaced by some songs that not only are more like something you'd hear on the local radio but also heretical at times when referring to the people of God as Christs. But these as well did not originate within the Council but through the devious means satan used to infiltrate dioceses and parishes.
Talk about scary! That infiltration which Pope Paul VI recognized on his death bed when he uttered, "satan is now in the sanctuary," is the worst form of terror and should alert every single Catholic as to how he has manipulated so many and fostered this culture of death so prevalent today where a human life is worth nothing; all for the sake of the seven deadly sins. There's a reason they're called the "deadly" sins! And that is the scariest, most horror-filled scene we can imagine, one so many are opening the door wide to by their incessant appetite for the eerie, the sensational, the occult and illicit sex graphically illustrated and glamorized on the screen. This Halloween, we hope all will take note of the underlying current to the season and that it no longer is pumpkins, ghosts and cute little witches but satanic figures and concepts that demean everything we stand for as Catholics committed to Christ. No longer is it a time of innocence and a chance to dress up, but more an open license to exhibit raw emotions and fantasies created by the demons as the evil one uses God's children to spread the culture of death further into society. And this all passes as entertainment. That's entertainment? It would be better if a millstone were tied around the necks of these producers, directors and ad sponsors then to allow them to continue this travesty and raping of souls. The real scare - the final scare of their life will come at the end of their life when they realize the horror that is very, very real: the loss of their eternal soul.
On All Hallow's Eve, rather than contributing to the cavities and caveat of the micabre by emptying your wallet on candy bars to pass out and overpriced costumes and grotesque masks for your kids, it might be a good idea to offer your Sunday Mass that not only will all the trick and treaters be safe physically, but also spiritually and psychologically. They are up against the fiercest and most vile of enemies and nothing should scare them more than the possible loss of their soul. We can clue them in by scaring them silly. How? Don't be afraid to spin the tales of the Gospel in which Our Lord specifies what happens to those who disobey God. Don't be afraid to remind them of the Ten Commandments. Don't be afraid to educate them on the horrors of abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, stealing, greed, jealousies and all the other sins that stifle the soul. Don't be afraid to counsel them to stand up against the voracious, unhealthy appetite the world has developed for more schlock and shock that threatens their very salvation. Yes, it's very serious and if we don't warn them now it could come back to haunt us. So this Halloween let's turn the tables by doing some scaring of our own!