Dominican priest squashes superstitions about the dead


CELEBRATING Halloween? Whispering to the dead before burial? Looking for wandering souls?

Dominican priest Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. called on Catholics to change how they deal with the dead by avoiding superstitions and firmly believing in the power of God.

Halloween, characterized by ghoulish symbols like demons, ghosts, and skulls, makes children look devilish, the former UST secretary general said.

“Halloween is a celebration of All Hallow’s Eve – the eve of all the holy ones of God. So, mas mainam bilang Katoliko, ang ating isusuot ay ‘yong gusto nating gayahin, ‘yong mga banal,” he said in a two-part question-and-answer video series produced by UST. “Kung gusto mo ang anak mo [ay] maging matino, damitan mo sila ng mga banal.”

(Halloween is a celebration of All Hallow’s Eve – the eve of all the holy ones of God. So, as a Catholic, it’s more appropriate to wear what we want to imitate, the holy ones. If you want your children to be good, dress them properly.)

Halloween has become widely associated with the supernatural. Children and adults imitate different characters and knock on doors to do trick or treat.

Pope Francis, however, once said the celebration had perpetuated a “negative culture about death and the dead.”

“This generation and many others have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea – the idea of evil,” he said at a Mass in 2014. “But the devil exists and we must fight against him.” 

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the Parish Youth Ministry of the Santisimo Rosario Parish organized a “Parade of Saints” where children were dressed up as saints, serving as a Christ-centered alternative to Halloween. 

Children dressed up as saints participate in a “Parade of Saints” organized by the Parish Youth Ministry of the UST Santisimo Rosario Parish on Sunday, Oct. 29. (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)


Cabading, an exorcist, also debunked superstitions about the dead passed on through generations, like covering mirrors, not sweeping the floor during wakes, and whispering to the dead before burial.

Sa ministry of spiritual liberation ng exorcism, ‘yong paniniwalang ‘yan ay mali dahil puwedeng gamitin ng masamang espiritu,” he said. “Pero ‘pag hindi ka naniniwala diyan, at ang iyong pananampalataya ay sa Diyos lamang, wala kang makikita.”

(In the ministry of the spiritual liberation of exorcism, those beliefs are wrong because evil spirits can use them against us. But if you don’t believe that and your faith in God is stronger, you’ll see nothing.) 

The former UST official also clarified that theology doesn’t support the idea that there are souls that wander the Earth and cannot cross to the other side because of some unfinished business.

‘Yang paniniwalang ‘yan ay hindi sang-ayon sa paniniwala ng ating Simbahan dahil sa divine revelation na sinabi sa Letter to the Hebrews, ‘It is appointed for man to die once, and then judgement,’” Cabading said. “‘Pag ang tao ay pumanaw, nagkakaroon agad ng paghuhukom sa kaniya kung saan siya pupunta.

(Those beliefs contradict Church teachings because of the divine revelation stated in the Letter to the Hebrews, ‘It is appointed for man to die once, and then judgment.’ If a person dies, he is quickly judged as to where he will go.)

The Dominican cleric said the bereaved must maximize the traditional mourning periods, such as the nine-day novena for the dead, the first 40 days after death and the first death anniversary commonly called “babang luksa.” 

“Actually, tayo ang nangangailangan, hindi ‘yong patay,” Cabading said. “Tayo ang mga nangangailangan ng proper mourning period. At ‘pag nagkaroon na tayo ng tamang panahon ng pagluluksa, we will now move forward.”

(We are the ones who are in need, not the dead. We are the ones who need a proper mourning period. And if we have the time to grieve for our loved ones, we will now move forward.) Sheila May S. Balagan


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