Halloween 'satanic rituals' alarm Poland Catholic church

Poland's powerful Roman Catholic church has raised the alarm about the growing influence of what it brands satanic rituals during Halloween.

"Halloween promotes the occult and magic," the church said in a statement on its website ahead of the October 31 festival.

"Under the guise of having fun, children, youngsters and adults are invited to engage in occult rituals which contradict Church teachings and Christianity."

The All Saints religious feast is widely celebrated in this largely Catholic nation on November 1, and relatives often travel hundreds of kilometres to tend the graves of departed loved-ones, lay wreaths and light candles.

But over the 23 years since the collapse of communism, carved pumpkin lanterns and youngsters disguised as ghouls and goblins have become common on Halloween.

The church alert comes amid a boom in exorcism in the country of 38.2 million people.

The number of Catholic priests qualified as exorcists has jumped from four to more than 120 over 15 years, according to the Polish church's chief demonologist, Father Aleksander Posacki.

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