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[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture [Absolutely Chilling!]
Studiobrien ^ | Februrary, 2010 | Michael D. O'Brien

Posted on 05/10/2010 9:58:40 AM PDT by mlizzy

Preface to Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture, by Michael D. O'Brien

This book grew out of a series of articles which were written over a ten-year period for various Christian periodicals. At first, I had no interest in reading the Harry Potter novels, and indeed felt that I had already expended considerable time researching the field of fantasy literature when writing a book on the subject in the mid-1990’s. Moreover, the constant reviews of the Potter series had given me a general sense about the stories and the popular opinions. Oceans of spilled ink and electronic text seemed to cover the pros and cons well enough. No need for me to add my opinion.

However, the first volumes were often recommended to our family by well-meaning people, and seemed to be read in so many homes we knew, that I could hardly ignore the phenomenon. Then came letters and phone calls from friends wanting to know what I thought about the series, all describing their initial uneasiness about it. I replied that I really couldn’t offer an opinion without reading the books for myself, and besides, there was such a tsunami of neo-pagan fantasy novels, films, and e-games pouring into young people’s lives it would be a lifetime’s work just to keep abreast of it all, let alone thoughtfully discern each one. They agreed, but suggested that since this particular series was fast becoming the biggest best-selling publishing phenomenon of all time, it might be worth reading. They added that some writers whom they admired said that these books were seductive and potentially damaging; other opinion-shapers said they were harmless and got children reading, in fact were getting a whole generation of young people burying their noses in books!

Nevertheless, I still declined to read them. But then came a curious 24 hour period in which I spoke with three different people (in two telephone calls that came out of the blue and one chance meeting face-to-face). All three described a personal experience in very much the same words. I did not initiate the subject, nor did I prompt their thoughts on the matter. None of them knew each other. All were parents of healthy, happy families, and as far as I knew were emotionally and mentally well-balanced. These were people I respected for their mature stability as well as their gifts of wisdom and goodness. They had strong faith in Christ, were neither superstitious nor suspicious by nature, were not alarmists, and did not tend to hysteria or paranoia. They had provided a thriving cultural life for their families, books were treasured in each of their homes, and among their collections were many fantasy novels for the young. Yet, that day each of them said something like the following:

“I heard so much about the Harry Potter books, and very good people told me they’re great. So we bought one [or were given one] and I started to read it. At first I had no problems with it. Then something strange happened. In the middle of a chapter I was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea.”

“Nausea?” I asked.

“Yes, a kind of spiritual nausea. I didn’t see it coming because I wanted to like these books. The whole world’s in love with them, even a lot of good Christians, so I felt they were probably healthy enough to give to our kids. I just wanted to check it out first. I’m glad I did.”

Unknown to each other, these three spiritually awake parents were speaking about a “spiritual nausea.” All three encouraged me to read the books and write an assessment. Was it a coincidence, or was it one of those moments when the Holy Spirit was speaking, sending a nudge in triplicate?

Even so, I hesitated taking part in any kind of public response to the series. I simply had no time or energy for it. Yet I had learned to pay attention to such “coincidences,” and so took it to our Lord in prayer.

I prayed and listened and prayed—and didn’t like what I was “hearing.”

So I prayed more and listened more, hoping to hear something else, but to no avail.

“Please, not me,” I protested. “The battle is endless. I did my part. Please ask someone else to write about the Potter books. Lord, there already are plenty of people doing just that!”

Followed by silence. Then, again the familiar insistence that I was being called to this task. I argued that it was a futile exercise destined to defeat.

“Lord, I don’t mind being a fool for your sake. And I don’t mind doing my part in a hopeless cause, but really….”

Hopeless? Why did it seem hopeless?

“But, Lord, why should I waste my time, which could be spent on positive work that helps build a healthy culture?”

Then came the response in the form of a realization: Had I really said waste my time? If I really had given Him my whole life, wasn’t my time in fact His time?

“Uh, yes, that’s true, Lord. But you see, I don’t have any of the books and I really don’t want to buy them.”

A suitable silence greeted this lame excuse. Obviously, I could go to the library, borrow copies from people in the church, ask for copies from the nauseated parents, no need to send money to help fund the tsunami.

The interesting thing about wrestling with God is that He seems, mysteriously, to permit it for a purpose. For one thing, he is showing us that we are free to accept his will or not. For another, as we exercise and exhaust our rather limited bag of reasoning and rationalizations we quickly come up against our human limitations. Then comes the understanding that, of course we can’t do it; of course, we can’t do anything on our own, and especially when it’s a case of resistance to evil. Everything depends on grace, on our cooperation with grace. Thus a deeper message is written in the heart of the soul, a kind of illumination of conscience. In the end I came to the decision to write about the Potter series simply through obedience. My rational mind also provided some reinforcement, which could be expressed like this:

If you were walking along a busy street and saw a child dart into traffic, would you not drop everything and leap to save him, even though you knew it would endanger your own life? By the same principle, if you were to see a child lured into a realm where the activities of demons and the arch-demon Satan have a very long track-record of seducing souls into bondage, and potentially into eternal death, would you not drop everything and do what you could to warn him?

And so it began. My earlier articles were based on a reading of the first four volumes, a kind of catch-up on what had been published by that point. I read the succeeding three volumes as the years went on. Interestingly, from the moment I began to read volume one, I too was hit by an unexpected spiritual disgust, along with the sense of an oppressive presence that I had come to recognize over the years as the proximity of adverse spirits. Oftentimes in my life, while doing research, I have read books containing clearly evil elements. In terms of contents alone, Harry Potter is rather tame in comparison. So I can say that I approached the series with no strong emotional bias, no irrational fear.

However, from the day I opened the first page and began to read, a cloud of darkness and dread descended, which was held at bay only by increased prayer.
I also experienced nightmares of a kind I had never before experienced in my life. This is totally out of character for me since I am not prone to bad dreams, and usually years go by without me having one. I have had some frightening experiences in my life (far worse than reading a few questionable books) and never suffered a bad dream from it.
But from the moment I began my little part in the resistance, I suffered from nightmares of unprecedented power.
Three stand out in memory. I will spare you much of the detail, but in one, which occurred immediately following the publication of my first critique of the Potter series in a major newspaper, I was being cursed by three witches (perhaps symbolically countering the blessings and prayers of the three holy women who had launched me on this labor). The witches’ spells against me were utterly terrifying, nearly paralyzing, and only when I cried out the name of Jesus were the spells broken and pushed back. I had to keep repeating His name to preserve the defense, and woke up in a state of terror that did not dissipate in the manner of bad dreams. My wife woke up too and prayed with me, and finally we were able to go back to sleep in peace. In a similar dream the following night, the three witches returned, now accompanied by a sorcerer, and once more they cast a hideous spell against me. Again it was repelled by the holy name of Jesus and also by the prayers of the saints, especially St. Joseph.

A third dream that occurred not long after was the most frightening of all. In it, I had been captured and taken to an isolated house deep in a forest. The building was filled with men and women involved in witchcraft and sorcery. They were waiting for a man who was their chief sorcerer to arrive, and I was to be the human sacrifice in the night’s ritual. When he entered the room I felt that all hope had been lost, a black dismay filled me, along with terror of a kind I had never before felt. Even then, I was able to whisper the name of Jesus. Instantly the walls fell backward onto the ground outside the house, the cords that had bound me fell from my wrists and ankles, and I ran for my life. Leaping out of the house, I was astonished to find the entire building surrounded by mighty angels, who by their holy authority had immobilized all of the sorcerers within. I leaped and danced with joy, and realized that I had been transformed into a child. Jesus appeared in the sky above and began to descend. I continued to dance in jubilation and relief, crying out greetings to him as he arrived. At which point I woke up, filled with utter joy. And that was the last of the bad dreams.

Throughout the initial dark period of research and writing, however, an amazing array of breakdowns and catastrophes occurred in the external details of our family life. These were more serious and frequent than the usual ups and downs of car problems, financial crises, sickness, and leaking roofs. It was these and much more—and all at once. I might add that I know seven other Christian writers who have publicly critiqued the Potter series, and all but one of them experienced the same phenomenon. Two had dreams like mine, and most of them had struggled to resist the cloud of oppression combined with an uncanny convergence of external trials. None of these writers strike me as flighty or hyper-sensitive people given to neurotic imaginings.

Lest my personal experience become unnecessarily spooky, let me assure you that it was a blessing, a confirmation of the fact that the issues involved in culture are not mere academic quibbles. They are ideas that have consequences in human lives. The ancient adversary of mankind has a vested interest in promoting ideas that further his cause and in afflicting those who impede his plans. The oppression I sometimes felt during those early years has not returned, mainly because I have learned to pray as I should, as every Christian should, for the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6: 10-20), for myself and for my family. That early battle heightened my awareness that we are living, as the entire Scripture and Tradition of Christianity tell us, in a vast multi-dimensional war zone, a good deal of which is invisible to our eyes. Each of us must play his part, each must learn to ask God for increased graces of protection and spiritual discernment. We must understand that the nature of this war is changing, and that the radical developments in culture, notably in cultural material directed at the young, are not merely random happenstance or purely socio-cultural evolution. New strategies are being brought to bear against mankind, and new strategies (rather, old and time-tested strategies) must be awakened in us if we would defend our children.

Having said this, it is important to underline that J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is almost certainly unaware of her work’s significance in the darkening of the times. She seems to be a sincere person who has great affection for children, and for young people’s literature, and simply writes about what excites her imagination. Her own childhood was “bookish”, influenced by C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King (the legend of Arthur and Merlin). However, Rowling has stated that she did not write the Potter series from a special love of fantasy: “In fact, I am not a great fan of fantasy books in general, and never read them.” [1] She has been consistent in her statements that she does not believe the world of witchcraft and sorcery is real: “Magic has a universal appeal. I don’t believe in magic in the way that I describe in my books. But I’d love it to be real…. The starting point for the whole of Harry’s world is, What if it was real? And I work from there.” [2]

This brings us to an important consideration that should be kept in mind throughout all discussion of the books and films. Despite everything we might find objectionable in them, we cannot presume to judge the author’s motives. The world she has created has come from her imagination, amply informed by her research into the history and symbolism of witchcraft and sorcery. The imagination is a phenomenally powerful faculty of the interior life of human beings. How it functions, and how it assimilates and recreates images and concepts into new forms, remains to some degree a mystery. It is like an empty stage, and whatever comes to habitually take place on that stage depends largely on what we choose through the will and the intellect to put there—or to allow to remain there. The imagination’s dramas can be generated by the literal events in the environment around us, by powerful emotional and sensory stimuli, and by painful and joyful experiences. It is also the arena where the subconscious mind dramatizes desires and conflicts (either in dreams or waking fantasies), where the lower appetites throw up images, sometimes exalted, sometimes sinful, sometimes a mixture of these. The imagination also tends to reflect the preoccupations and the spiritual condition of the society around us.

In addition, the imagination is a screen onto which the evil spirits can “project” images, temptations presented as stimulating entertainments, offering us pleasurable rewards if we give in to the temptation. The more we give in, the more this dimension of the imagination grows, the more it becomes a vehicle of enchantment of the will, then obsession, and if not wholly repented of, ending in some degree of bondage to evil. If we want to become whole and healthy, the imagination must be trained, just as the body, the rational intellect, and the will must be trained. Any one of these aspects of our personhood, if not brought under discipline and self-mastery with the help of grace, can lead to the domination of the part over the whole. The development of a moral imagination, therefore, demands as much self-restraint and proper direction as an athlete exercises over his body.

From my own experience as a writer of novels, I have learned that the imagination contains depths and heights and potential riches that we can hardly measure, let alone completely master. That is why those who are involved in the making of culture have a special need for our prayers. At this point it is helpful to remember that when we speak of “culture,” we are referring to far more than just the “high-brow” culture of art museums and symphony orchestras, or to the “low-brow” culture of pop music and comic books. There is no standard definition of culture, but it is generally agreed that the word encompasses all the forms through which a society expresses itself, and defines itself: its arts, its crafts, its jokes, songs and stories, its manners and myths, and so much more. Each of these begins to develop its external form deep in the imagination of a human being.

In my own work, I have often been astonished by the intense realism of characters and scenes that suddenly appear in my mind’s eye, out of nowhere it would seem. I lose all sense of time and enter inside that sub-created world, which I hope to bring forth from my interior life onto paper, and from there into the imaginations of my readers. Often I simply sit back and watch the plot unfold, letting my fingers do the typing that records it all. I can “hear” the dialogue, and then wonder how I came to know these things, when in fact I haven’t heard or seen or read about them before.

In the old days it was called the “muse,” a kind of disembodied spirit of inspiration. In our times, the belief in help from invisible external sources is much in decline. Exalted in its place is the image of the solitary artist-genius extracting masterpieces from his autonomous self. Neither of these two understandings of the creative life is accurate, but of the two, I would say the latter is more vulnerable to unhealthy influence because this kind of writer does not believe that he is subject to any forces outside of himself. And thus he lacks certain necessary tools of discernment. In the worst cases, a kind of anti-inspiration can occur without the writer realizing what is happening.

The Christian writer is not immune to the distractions and temptations. When I neglect to pray as I ought, the technical side of writing becomes more difficult for me, and the creation of scenes and dialogues a slower, foggier process. Moreover, certain elements can creep into plot, characterization, and style that have no place in the story and could lead it elsewhere than where it should go. By contrast, when I am fervently beseeching God each day for the grace of the particular work I’m creating, the writing flows clearly. Then, whenever something wanders onto the stage of my inner theater from a source that may be unhealthy (my own fallen nature or perhaps a prompting from an evil spirit) my soul’s inner radar sounds an alert. I stop, pray, think about it, then move on, either discarding an idea, scene, image, bit of dialogue, or bringing it more closely on the track of beauty and truth. This is a co-creative process: God the Creator and man his creature, made in his image and likeness, working together to bring something new into the world that brings life and hope to others.

God never discards or overwhelms our natural gifts. He desires only to sanctify them and to make them ever more fruitful. He never forces; he always invites. He absolutely respects our freedom. If a person chooses, either through naïveté or willfulness, to ignore the co-creative graces and to claim for himself a kind of higher authority that can rewrite the principles God has established in the universe, even then God will neither overwhelm that person nor displace his natural imagination. He will permit the natural imagination to continue to create on its own terms, even to the point of running rampant, until it has run its course.

I cannot offer you, dear reader, an encyclopedic or scientific presentation of the merits and dangers of the Harry Potter series and its films. Instead, it is my hope that this general survey of the phenomenon and some consequent reflections will stimulate serious questions and thinking on the issues involved.

Michael D. O’Brien

[emphasis; mine]

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events
KEYWORDS: catholic; demonic; demons; devil; harrypotter; obrien; occult; potter; satan
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Michael D. O'Brien Web site
Related thread: The Spiritual Toll of Pervasive Occultism
1 posted on 05/10/2010 9:58:40 AM PDT by mlizzy
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To: mlizzy; Judith Anne; Salvation; NYer; markomalley; Mrs. Don-o; narses

Satanic shivers ping ...

2 posted on 05/10/2010 10:02:41 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: mlizzy

3 posted on 05/10/2010 10:05:23 AM PDT by BuckyKat
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To: mlizzy

I read the books, and experienced no events or nightmares. But they bored me! I read them so that I’d know what they were about. I can hardly remember them.

4 posted on 05/10/2010 10:08:54 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: mlizzy
Another related thread: What are Possession and Obsession by the Devil?
5 posted on 05/10/2010 10:10:02 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: mlizzy

Let the Potter apologists descend with all their Oprah-esque idiocy...

7 posted on 05/10/2010 10:11:40 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: mlizzy

Reading the above, the main thing that jumped out at me is the author’s internal issues, not any threat from the books.

8 posted on 05/10/2010 10:12:55 AM PDT by blowfish
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: kimmie7
We haven’t allowed our son to read hp, although he has begged. We just don’t think he is spiritually grounded enough as yet. We’ll approach it with much prayer.

Sounds like a good idea. Michael D. O'Brien is a well-known Canadian Catholic writer (my DH is an avid reader of his works!), and I'm still shaking reading his words.
10 posted on 05/10/2010 10:13:48 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: mlizzy
Please note: This is a Catholic Caucus thread.
12 posted on 05/10/2010 10:16:16 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: mlizzy

as I recall Christ is victorious over death and evil ...if so why worry about Harry Potter?

13 posted on 05/10/2010 10:16:34 AM PDT by woofie
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To: Judith Anne

Jesus is strong in you!

14 posted on 05/10/2010 10:17:28 AM PDT by johngrace
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To: mlizzy; Religion Moderator

My apologies... I didn’t see the “caucus” indicator. Please strike my previous comment.

15 posted on 05/10/2010 10:17:49 AM PDT by kevkrom (De-fund Obamacare in 2011, repeal in 2013!)
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To: mlizzy

As a Christian, I must say that I find the Potter series to be rather benign. Kids are exposed to MUCH darker stuff. In fact, none of the children that I have known have used the Potter series as justification to explore witchcraft. It doesn’t really lend itself to that. They contain no “practical” magic whatsoever that kids would try and mimic.

On the contrary, the stories are replete with common Christian themes; love, sacrifice, good, evil, etc. It is very hard to escape these. In fact, Ms. Rowling’s more secular reviewers have lamented that she couldn’t break free of these themes and be more “artistic”. Perhaps this is one of the ways in which God fights back.

Another positive from the books is the mention of Christmas. Even if it is only in the secular, holiday sense, the mere mention of it should be counted as somewhat of a victory considering the author is from PC, Muslim England.

Just as with anything else, the Potter books can misused, and parents of children who do read them should provide proper spiritual balance. Satan seeks to seduce with wonder and beauty. He does not show what he truly is like.

16 posted on 05/10/2010 10:18:33 AM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: mlizzy

If Pagan Magic actually worked, more people would be using it.

It is nothing more than innefecual diversion that squanders resources, time, and spirituality away from people.

17 posted on 05/10/2010 10:19:34 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: woofie

Why is he called the deceiver? Also ruler of this world until Christ comes.

18 posted on 05/10/2010 10:19:38 AM PDT by johngrace
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To: Judith Anne
But they bored me!

I was going to say something about the "nausea" probably being caused by poor writing, and vapid story lines.

19 posted on 05/10/2010 10:20:33 AM PDT by Campion
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: mlizzy

Sorry, I didn’t understand what that meant. I do now.

I’m not a Catholic, so I’ll butt out.

21 posted on 05/10/2010 10:22:13 AM PDT by EveningStar (Karl Marx is not one of our Founding Fathers.)
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To: mlizzy

Our battle is not against flesh and blood.

There is much wisdom in this article.

22 posted on 05/10/2010 10:23:33 AM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified Decartes))
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To: mlizzy
Thank you for the amusing read. It was an absolutely chilling portrait of what it must be like to be an "adult" so mentally weak as to be terrified and given powerful nightmares by fiction intended for tweens and teens.

Increasing the size of the font to ginormous only elevated the comedic effect of those passages. Good show.
23 posted on 05/10/2010 10:25:11 AM PDT by Goldsborough
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Shall we burn JK Rowling at the stake?

24 posted on 05/10/2010 10:25:17 AM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: kimmie7; mlizzy; Religion Moderator

If the Caucus label means nothing, where can Catholics go to speak only with other Catholics?

Are there really that many ignorant people? Honestly, maybe it’s time for a refresher thread.

25 posted on 05/10/2010 10:25:41 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Goldsborough

Are you Catholic? This is a caucus thread.

26 posted on 05/10/2010 10:26:22 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: blowfish

Are you Catholic? This is a caucus thread.

27 posted on 05/10/2010 10:27:08 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Judith Anne
Michael D. O'Brien is not your average writer, so my guess, is that that is why he was intensely attacked when he took on this project. It doesn't surprise me. Sort of like how Fr. Euteneuer is attacked for his role in fighting the devil as an exorcist. It was O'Brien, btw, that said this in regard to Obama and the question of the Anti-Christ:
Surely there are "Ten Just Men" still out there somewhere in America. So why Obama? And why does he rise and rise as his mouth smiles and smiles, exuding sincerity as he speaks lies and death? --from Fr. Mark Kirby, "Thank you, Michael O'Brien"

28 posted on 05/10/2010 10:28:42 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: mlizzy

Here”s MoreHarry Potter is Dangerous
for Both You and Your Children

Adapted from a Sermon of Fr. Casimir Puskorius, CMRI,
3rd Sunday of Advent, December 16, 2001

On the First Sunday of Lent every year, we read in the Gospel of the devil tempting Our Lord. First he tries to tempt Him to gluttony, and Our Lord resists. Of course, Our Lord, because He is God, cannot be inclined to sin. But the devil, not knowing that, first tries to tempt Him to gluttony, and then to pride and power and materialism. He says to Our Lord, “Why don’t you throw yourself off this high elevation? God will save you.” Our Lord refuses. Then the devil pulls out his trump card. He shows Our Lord all the glory of the world and says, “I will give all this to you, if you will just bow down and worship me.” Of course, Our Lord refuses again. What the devil was saying here, in a sense, was “I’ll give you magic to do something that is not morally right, but it’s something you would enjoy.”
It should be evident to us, my dear parishioners, that the devil is after each one of us, tempting us in similar manner to sin and to pride. These temptations take different forms, so we must be on our guard. The devil is trying to tempt us away from serving God, from obeying God’s commandments. He is so crafty, so subtle, that often you don’t even know, unless you are very careful, how he is insinuating himself.
I believe it my duty to talk to you today about a series of books and its accompanying movie because I believe that they contain an insinuation of pride and ungodliness. I think you know what I am talking about: the Harry Potter series. I will speak both about the books and the movie, because if one reads the books, he will want to see the movie, and vice versa. I believe there are some real problems here, real spiritual danger — possibly grave spiritual danger. I will explain why.
Believe me, I have refrained from saying anything about this for a long time. When the books first came out, I began to gather information on them. I wanted to analyze them to see whether or not they were good for children to be reading, and to write an article for The Reign of Mary. I haven’t said anything up to this time because I wanted to study the matter, rather than say yes or no before I knew what I was talking about.
Let me also preface this explanation by saying that I speak now from the consciousness that one day I will have to answer to God for how I accomplished my duty to instruct you in matters of faith and morals. I certainly believe that there are matters of faith and morals involved in this particular matter.
The first problem I would like to point out are the words that are so casually used in the books and in the movie, words that are so casually used that children may start using them — yet these words are matter of mortal sin. Specifically, I am referring to such words as: sorcery, witchcraft, casting spells, communicating with the dead (necromancy). The Catholic Church very clearly tells us that these are mortal sins, and they must not be presented as though they are something permissible to try. I believe it is the devil trying to insinuate himself through the medium of human beings, trying to draw us away from Christ. These are not your usual Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember that children do not have the same critical ability that adults have. They read fantasy much differently than we do: they read it in a believing way.
I am going to give you some quotations. This is from the Canadian Catholic artist and author Michael D. O’Brien, author of A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind. He says, speaking about the books, “The series uses the symbol world of the occult as its primary metaphor. This has the potential of lowering a child’s guard to the actual occult activity in the world around us, which is everywhere and growing.” We would be naive to the extreme, my dear brethren, if we thought that the devil isn’t trying to do his work.
Here’s another quote from a reliable source, a person who was once involved in witchcraft. He says that the names used in the books are names of actual demons. I quote:
“The first book of the series, entitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, finds the orphan Harry Potter embarking into a new realm when he is taken to ’Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’ At this occult school, Harry Potter learns how to obtain and use witchcraft equipment.”
This is not harmless white magic! We’re talking about something far more serious.
“Harry also learns a new vocabulary, including such words as Azkaban, Circe, Dracho, Erised, Hermes, Slytherin, all of which are names of real devils or demons. These are no characters of fiction.”
There simply is not a clear distinction between good and evil in the Harry Potter books, such as there is in the C. S. Lewis Narnia series. The following is taken from an interview with Michael O’Brien on this subject (as reported by ZENIT, Dec. 6, 2001):
INTERVIEWER: “Critics of Harry Potter see a big difference between authors such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis who, they argue, use magical elements in a Christian way, and the books of J.K. Rowling, where magic is presented in an agnostic and pagan fashion.”
O’BRIEN: “The differences are great, I would say absolute. The resemblance between the works of Christian fantasy and Rowling is only superficial. Yes, there is magic in both, yet Tolkien and Lewis repeatedly warn about the danger of magic throughout their novels.
“Tolkien is especially clear on this. In his great epic, The Lord of the Rings, and in his foundational work, The Simarillion, he shows that powers that do not rightly belong to man always have a corrupting influence on man. Only higher ranks of creatures in his imagery would exercise supernatural powers, and then only as a gift of God.
“The evil characters in the tale have corrupted these gifts, or else — in the case of humans — they have tried to seize them as personal possessions, only to be deceived and finally destroyed by them. Moreover, the ’magic’ in Tolkien’s subcreation does not really resemble magic practices in the real world...
“In his fantasy series for children, The Chronicles of Narnia, and in his cosmic trilogy for adults, C.S. Lewis also repeatedly demonstrates the seductiveness of powers which are not rightly man’s, especially when they are seized as a form of Gnostic quest for power.”
So, Harry Potter is NOT the same thing as more traditional fairy tales. In Harry Potter there is even a desensitization to sin. O’Brien goes on to say in this same interview:
“There are other serious problems in these books, notably the question of authority and obedience. Harry’s faults are rarely punished, and usually by the negative authority figures in the tale. The positive authority figures actually reward Harry for his disobedience when it brings about some perceived good. His lies, his acts of vengeance and his misuse of his powers are frequently ignored. The message of ’the end justifies the means’ is dominant throughout.”
Now remember, Harry Potter is attending witchcraft school. O’Brien then describes a shocking and terrifying scene:
“In one class, the students are taught to cut up mandrake roots, which are living human babies, for use in a potion. At the least this can cause a subconscious desensitization to abortion.”
Harry also speaks the language of snakes, which is called Parseltongue. From another source:
“All of these images, moreover, seem to be derived from occult materials, suggesting a sophisticated knowledge of the occult on the part of the author. Regarding Harry’s ability to speak Parseltongue, or the language of snakes, the books are suffused with serpent imagery, beginning with the early pages of Book One, when young Harry, still unaware of his magical gifts, has a conversation with a boa constrictor in a zoo. After the snake communicates a desire to escape his confinement, Harry unwittingly vaporizes the glass enclosure and the reptile escapes. In Book Two Harry discovers that the secret menace attacking the students at Hogwart is a basilisk (a giant snake with looks that kill, literally) while in Book Four we meet Voldermort’s vile familiar, Nagini, a serpent that feeds on Voldermort’s victims. The serpent, we need hardly remind the reader, is one of the most ancient and pervasive occult and pagan motifs; the Satanic serpent of the Garden of Eden finds expression in most pagan systems as the Serpent God, from the ancient Egyptian god Set to the sacred cobras associated with both Vishnu and Shiva” (Harry Potter’s Hocus-Pocus by Steve Bonta).
I think you see the picture, my dear parishioners. This is dangerous. I know there are well-intentioned people following it or involved with it, but I hope that my words today will give you great pause for consideration and concern.
There is available in the Secretary’s office the Preview Family Movie & TV Review magazine, which analyzes movies from a godly perspective; it is only for the adults to pick up, by the way. It will tell you whether a movie is worth watching or not, pointing out the problems with each. This is what it says about this particular movie:
“Some mild and moderate violence occurs, such as sports roughness and property destruction, but along with the learning of incantations, potions, wand-waving and broomstick-riding, HARRY includes other elements which the Bible also takes a negative view of. More disturbing is the concept of an evil wizard spirit co-habiting another’s body.”
What is referred to here is diabolical possession. This is the most frightening thing, I believe, that can happen on earth — for someone to be possessed by the devil.
“It will be difficult, if not impossible, in most families, Christian and secular alike, to deny their children’s desire to see the film, but witchcraft, conversing with the dead, and possession should be maturely discussed. Despite its positive messages and honorable characters [far too nice an assessment, in my opinion], we cannot in good spirit endorse Harry Potter as recommendable.”
This past week we celebrated the glorious feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose place of apparition in Mexico City is one of the the foremost Marian shrines in the world today. Upwards of 20 million pilgrims visit there every year. I was just reflecting this past week how our Blessed Mother helped to save, in a powerful way, the Aztec people from paganism. As pagans, they had their shamans and their species of witchcraft. They also had a serpent god. Our Lady came to teach them through that miraculous image that the religion being preached by the missionaries was indeed the true Faith, and only in this way would they be able to save their souls, to be given the light of the Gospel, to know Jesus Christ, to know the truth of the Faith.
It is true that the conquistadores were sometimes guilty of some very grave injustices. We do not condone that. But we do rejoice in that the missionaries brought the Gospel. At first, the conversions were not all that plentiful. But when the Aztecs saw the miraculous image on the front of Juan Diego’s tilma (which exists to this day — it’s a miracle every day that it continues to exist), they saw the little cross there on Our Lady’s brooch, and it made them realize that this is the true religion. Millions were converted within just a couple of years — 9 million according to one account.
It is interesting in light of what I have said today that the real name of Our Lady’s apparition at Guadalupe is “she who crushes the stone serpent.” She gave her name to Juan Diego in the Aztech language as “Tecoatlaxopeuh” (te — stone, coo — serpent, tla — the, xope — crush or stamp out), and when Juan Diego told the Bishop, he thought he heard “Guadalupe,” the name of a shrine of Our Lady in Spain. (This shrine has a statue of Our Lady that had been given by Pope Gregory the Great around the year 600 and was lost for many centuries and found again.) So then, the real Patroness of the shrine is “She who crushes the head of the serpent.”
Let us pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe to help us crush the serpent in our lives so that he does not make inroads into our Catholic Faith or lead astray our children. Let us pray to this humble Virgin who considered herself the handmaid of the Lord, and to the humble Redeemer, Who taught us so much. If we are humble we will then seek always to do the Will of God. That is always the mark of humility. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
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29 posted on 05/10/2010 10:29:01 AM PDT by johngrace
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: mlizzy
I see a witch and a satanic girl here. Paganization on the march!

31 posted on 05/10/2010 10:35:42 AM PDT by Plutarch
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To: All
This Religion Forum thread is labeled "Catholic Caucus" which means if you are not Catholic, do not post on this thread.
32 posted on 05/10/2010 10:36:22 AM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Judith Anne
Are you Catholic? This is a caucus thread.

Sounds more to me like hiding behind "caucus" so you don't have to defend your ideas.

I am Catholic. This guy sounds like a loon.

33 posted on 05/10/2010 10:37:12 AM PDT by Michael Barnes (Call me when the bullets start flying.)
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To: Judith Anne
Judith Anne, here's some of Michael D. O'Brien's works. We've got about five or six of his books here at home; my DH actually purchased them; he is an avid reader and fan of his. I might attempt to read them myself (very thick books) maybe ... Link
34 posted on 05/10/2010 10:39:00 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Goldsborough

Excellent point. I read the series over and over. I am currently in the middle of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I was thrilled to find out that my pitch for a Harry Potter Lit Language Arts elective was approved, so now I get to teach the series from a literary standpoint.
I wonder if the author ever had an imaginary friend? Did he ever pretend about anything as a child? Does he allow his children to watch the classic Wizard of Oz? Have they read Alice in Wonderland and Behind the Looking Glass? I am sad for him.

35 posted on 05/10/2010 10:40:38 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Michael Barnes

So? The books bored me. They bothered others. Wanna fight about it? LOL!

36 posted on 05/10/2010 10:40:45 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: goodwithagun

Are you Catholic? This is a caucus thread.

37 posted on 05/10/2010 10:41:43 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Judith Anne
I am nominally Catholic, though I have slipped far, far away from my parents' religion. Does that make any difference in how unintentionally hilarious the lead article is?

I have never understood caucus threads to mean that an article shall be fawned over just for being labeled so, only that no anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-xyz sentiments could be posted.

I didn't post anything "anti-Catholic," I am lambasting the author's squeamish psyche as highlighted by the OP.

There is a great tradition of Catholic thinkers. This guy misses the cut badly.
38 posted on 05/10/2010 10:46:19 AM PDT by Goldsborough
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To: Judith Anne

I like post 33.

39 posted on 05/10/2010 10:47:17 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Judith Anne; Religion Moderator

Oh sooooo sorry!

I don’t begin to support some Catholic beliefs, but I would never have been so rude as to have gone on the attack. I was just glad to find someone else who shared the same opinion on hp.

I will never again set virtual foot into one of YOUR discussions.

40 posted on 05/10/2010 10:48:48 AM PDT by kimmie7 (THE CROSS - Today, Tomorrow and Always!)
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To: Judith Anne
by Michael D. O'BrienMichael D. O'Brien is an incredible Catholic painter as well. See his site for more (in the sidebar).
41 posted on 05/10/2010 10:49:02 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Judith Anne

I regularly attend mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Steubenville, with the exception of this past week. Due to Mother’s Day travel, we attended mass Saturday evening at St. Augustine’s in Barberton. It was an absolutely beautiful church and the priest mentioned nothing about healthcare being a basic human right. Cheers!

42 posted on 05/10/2010 10:50:08 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: goodwithagun

God bless you! ;-D

43 posted on 05/10/2010 10:51:04 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: johngrace

Thanks a lot John. You know, our priest told the kids that were to be confirmed (and their parents!) — via a speech — that he read the Potter series, and found nothing wrong with the books. Now this is a priest, years later, that can’t even SHOW UP for daily Mass. He just blows it off. Not “on fire” spiritually, I guess ...

44 posted on 05/10/2010 10:54:03 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Retired Greyhound
As a Christian, I must say that I find the Potter series to be rather benign.

Exactly. Where were all these critics when Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine were writing about kids using Ouija boards to summon demons? Nowhere in sight. The anti-Potter hysteria is driven by jealousy of Rowling's financial success. The New York Times resented her so much that they tweaked the way their Bestseller list is calculated so as to kick her off it.

45 posted on 05/10/2010 10:57:14 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: Plutarch

This is a Catholic Caucus thread, Plutarch. As such, your image/comment is not appropriate.

46 posted on 05/10/2010 10:58:00 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: nina0113
Michael D. O'Brien is a successful Canadian Catholic writer/painter. I can assure you, he's not jealous of Rowling's financial success. In fact, he comes to her defense, if you read the piece. And please be aware this is a Catholic Caucus thread.
47 posted on 05/10/2010 11:02:10 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Religion Moderator
Is is possible for you to change the title of the thread to:
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture [Absolutely Chilling!]

48 posted on 05/10/2010 11:06:57 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Religion Moderator

Many thanks!!

49 posted on 05/10/2010 11:07:30 AM PDT by mlizzy ("Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person" --Mother Teresa.)
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To: Michael Barnes

I’m with you. Didn’t like O’brien’s books either. And his descriptions of his struggles while reading the books makes him sound hysterical.

50 posted on 05/10/2010 11:11:13 AM PDT by mockingbyrd (Remember in November.)
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