Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What's Wrong with Harry Potter?



What's wrong with Harry Potter? After all they are all in harmless fun. Mildly entertaining and they are getting kids to read. And that is the important thing right? How can they be so appealing if they are truly evil?

These are the defenses that I hear from people who quite self-defensively promote reading the Harry Potter series. There are several objections. The first is aesthetic- the books are banal, poorly written and the American versions specfically "dumbed down" for our public school educated audience. I wouldn't lower myself but that is the snobby English major in me talking.

Morally is where the real problem lies and is the only reason that ANYONE cares who is reading Harry Potter. We hear they are appealing and therefore cannot be evil. When we made our Baptism vows we promised to avoid the "glamour of evil". So if evil were not glamourous it would not tempt us. That argument is easily dismissed. We cannot rely upon whether something is good based upon our feelings about it. I could easily convince myself to eat an entire box of chocolates. After all, food is good for you and nourishing, chocolate is high in iron and the box was a gift so it must be good to do show my appreciation in such a dramatic way? Feelings are no basis for anything except concern and suspicion. Our dedication to the good must be objective and overcome our inclinations.

There is the small matter of the subject of the books. After all they are about sorcery and witchcraft right? The sorcery does not represent grace as it does in the Lord of the Rings, written by the very devout J.R.R. Tolkien. Sorcery in Harry Potter represents power, and specifically power over "muggles" the normal, average people. In the Lord of the Rings, the normal people (or hobbits their representatives) are the means by which God shows his grace. The humans become conduits of His grace and cooperate with His divine plan. In Harry Potter the only plan is Harry's revenge. A bit of a difference, no?

In this article, the greatest threat or obstacle to evanglizing people with the Truth is sorcery and witchcraft. Strange to us who don't really believe in evil or sorcery and that is why we do not have the proper fear of books like Harry Potter. We think we are superior to them and any appeal they hold. These evangelists understand that this is not the case and witness the playing out of the battle between good and evil for souls. This article further explains that the Holy Father is on record as saying that the Harry Potter books are a type of seduction to evil. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Rome's chief excorcist who believes very much in evil agrees. But what do they know?

There is also the consideration of what do you want to dwell upon in your mind? What is pure, godly, salvific, encouraging? Or what is evil masquerading as good? Women used to labor over their embroidery samplers that contained a pious verse, sing hymns while they worked, read the Bible on Sundays. Haven't we fallen very far indeed when our entertainment is watching Inside Edition, reading People magazine and watching sitcoms on TV? When you acclimate yourself to evil by immersing yourself in it you lose your ability to protect yourself from it. And you cannot advance spiritually.

I often think of the Bible verse, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." A good sentiment that rallies one to righteousness.

98 comments:

Roy F. Moore said...

Dr. John Granger - a teacher of classical literature ans father of seven - has written a book some years ago that counters many of the objections you've raised. The work is called "Looking For God in Harry Potter", printed by Tyndale House Publishers.

He has a website containing many articles related to his work:

http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/home.php

Finally, here are some reviews of his book from Barnes & Noble:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=1414300913&itm=1

Thank you for your time.

qlinger said...

It is nice to know that I am not the only one who is puritancal, stupid and over zealous.
Harry Potter is the worst kind of evil as it appears innocent and is directed to children in particular.
I can't beleive that even though the Pope has warned against it catholics still defend it and support the Harry Potter books. But then I am over zealous.

Mary said...

I don't have children, but have read all of the Harry Potter books. I find them to be very well written. It's true that on the surface they are about wizards and magic, but the overall theme of the books seems very, very Christian to me. The main struggle is between pure good and pure evil. Friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice are all praised. The willingness to fight evil (even at the risk of ridicule and death) are portrayed as important character traits. Christian virtue is presented as being much more important and much more powerful than any magic.

To me the books are more about being a moral person and developing virtue than about wizardry.

mary said...

qlinger, have you read the books yourself or are you basing your comment on the plot summaries? I'm not trying to be confrontational -- I was just wondering whether you saw the Christian theme in the books (this aspect of the books is never reallly presented in reviews of the books because they tend to stick with the surface features of the book). If you're not comfortable reading them, that's fine, too.

M. Alexander said...

Hi Mary,
wow, I feel like I'm talking to myself :). The prevailing theme in the Harry Potter books is that the end justifies the means. Harry lies, cheats and steals but all for a good cause. I don't see anything Christian about that. What is the virtue being presented? Winning? I don't think that is a virtue. Children, especially are left with the strong impression that sorcery, magic and wizardry are a solution to life's problems.

Thanks for your comments.

Phoenix Lady said...

oh, Yey! This argument again! Tell you what, have fun. When you've moved on to an argument that hasen't been done and re-done ten thousand times or actually READ the books (crazy idea, yes) please let me know.

M. Alexander said...

Dear Mr. Moore,
I accessed the webpage you recommend. I have to say that Mr. Granger appears to be a frightening and disturbed individual. I base that opinion not just on his convoluted reasoning but on his picture. [shiver]

Furthermore, he is not Catholic and Tyndale Publishing is not a Catholic publishing house. I will be guided by the excellent advice of our Holy Father. Reading his essays reminded me of a descent into insanity. Being a mother I need no assistance in that journey.

I was surprised to see his Lumos 2000 event in Las Vegas, Nevada- committed Christian you say? I doubt it.

Thank you for your comments.

M. Alexander said...

And yet Phoenix, here you are posting. Funny I don't have to be a satanist or even an atheist to know that it is wrong and I don't have to read all the Harry Potter books either. The excerpts that I read were more than enough. That what is so great about being Catholic. We have an authority placed on Earth to guide us, the successor of Peter. We also have the Sacraments (the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven- there will be no lock picking if you know what I mean).

Thanks for your comments, or would they be anti-comments? LOL

mary said...

"Harry lies, cheats and steals but all for a good cause. "
That's true, he does...but when I read the books, I don't get the sense that the end justifies the means. Notice also that each time he does this, he does NOT defeat evil, but only brings it closer and that doing so harms those closest to him.

Rather I get the sense that he is slowly growing up and will realize that cheating and stealing are NOT the way. Hermione is constantly reminding him to be honest and truthful. Dumbledore does not cheat or steal -- he is honest and sticks to his principles, no matter what the consequences.

Again, the key is not be deceived by the surface features. Harry is not really the true hero in the book, he's NOT the person to emulate. Did you notice that in most of the books he does not win the battle alone. Instead, it is his friends and other unseen (and good) forces that save him from death.

Many of the other characters have courage, loyalty, and honest which ARE Christian traits.

My sense is that Harry is a bit like a young Augustine. He is full of pride and leading a less than perfect life, but in the end will realize his true calling and change for the better.

Anonymous said...

" I base that opinion not just on his convoluted reasoning but on his picture. [shiver]"

Talk about lacking Christian virture -- how shallow of you to judge a person by his picture. He can't help what he looks like. God made him that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced that the church has forbidden Catholics to read these books.

Here is a Catholic source about this issue:
http://www.catholicculture.org/highlights/highlights.cfm?id=69

Reading excepts gives the a biased picture of the plot. If you read the entire book all of the events would be placed in their proper context and you would see that the over-riding theme is Christian.

m. alexander, you suggested that the main point of the book is that Harry "wins", but that's very far from what the books are about. There is a giant evil presence that is threatening to destroy all that is good (humans and wizards a like) but only a few few people realize it. As Mary said, Harry is not really the true hero in the books, but you can't really know this from reading bits and pieces of the books. Your statements about "winning" and the end justifying the means seriously contradicts the books (which is why it is always dangerous to discuss a book that you haven't read).

Tolkien's books have a very Catholic undertone (as you probably know, Tolkien was a devout Catholic) and yet they use magic, too. Would you condemn those books, too? I wouldn't. Tolkien's story makes a compelling case for Christianity. The Potter books do the same in a modern context. Both series deal with very similar issues.

Violet said...

Catholicculture.org has an interesting review of the books. (http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=3794)

The author has a good quote illustrating how Harry is tempted by evil, but that ultimately a person is free to choose.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love this quote:
"A book is like a mirror. If a fool looks in, you can't expect a genius to look out."

M. Alexander said...

The eyes are the window to the soul. Can you honestly say that Mr. Granger appears honest, virtuous, at peace? His eyes are mean and hard.

And we certainly can change our appearance. Remember the book The Portrait of Dorian Gray. It is by virtuous living and self control and properly moderated living that we become the person we appear to be.

Now Harry Potter is a young Augustine? Really that seems a bit over the top!

You assert that there is Christian symbolism- if Harry is prevailing based upon the efforts of his friends and cannot manage on his own- doesn't he emulate the anti-Christ instead of the Christ? The Lord did not need the Apostles to correct Him and instill virtue in Him. He was correcting and teaching them and setting the example.

You point out a prime example of how this is not a book filled with Christian symbolism- it is quite the opposite.

And Violet how the words "free to choose" send a shiver down my spine. Yes, we all have free will. Christianity is about choosing the good.

Anonymous- usually a person of very little courage and conviction who will not reveal their name. Anyhow, I would not endanger my soul by reading all the Harry Potter books. If the Holy Father and Fr. Amorth are not enough for you I don't expect to change your mind but merely to make you think and perhaps indulge in a bit of intellectual honesty.

No one defends the Harry Potter books for their virtue or so called Christian symbolism but because they are thrilling and titallating.

Anonymous said...

"The eyes are the window to the soul. Can you honestly say that Mr. Granger appears honest, virtuous, at peace? His eyes are mean and hard. "

That's very cruel to say. What do YOU look like?
Mr. Granger is not attractive, but it's not kind to equate physical ugliness with evilness. In many cases, the most beautiful things are evil (Satan himself was among the most beautiful of all angels).

Anonymous said...

Who said Harry was Christ?? I don't think he is. If you read the books, you would know that Harry represents "everyman" NOT Christ. Harry must struggle with good and evil and find his way toward the correct path.

I don't think you've read Violet's link. The quote about being free to choose is obviously in the context of choosing GOOD, not evil. That was Dumbledore's message in that conversation with Harry. Read the link and see for yourself.

You've also misread what the Pope said about the books. In fact, the Pope did not say anything about them. Cardinal Ratzinger made a vague comment about them (again, PLEASE read the discussion of this on Catholic Culture). So, if you are not reading the books because the Holy Father said not to, then you are mistaken, he did NOT make such a statement, so you can't hide behind that as an excuse to defend your commenting on books that you know nothing about.

For the record, I did not find the books "thrilling and titallating". Instead, I found them intellectually engaging and there are obvious parallels between them, the Narnia books, and Tolkien books (and, of course, the main themes in the Bible).

They are much better than some of the other junk books out there that have become best sellers (Bridget Jones, Devil wears prada, da vinci code, Celestine prophecy). Now THOSE are books without any moral teachings. They are empty, pure junk.


As for using Dorian Gray to support your point about Granger's photo, how should I put this...you DO realize that that book is just a story. It's not real. And it's written by a very immoral writer. I'm surprised you read that book.

He who must not be named said...

m. alexander if that is your real name! :-)
"Anonymous- usually a person of very little courage and conviction who will not reveal their name. "

Yes, I'm very very afraid. Seriousl, what difference does it make if I sign my name? Do you realize how many people have the same name as I do? Does someonone signing their name Dan Smith really make you any happier?? Besides some of your blogger pals don't use their names (Caroline Cannonball, and the lot).

M. Alexander said...

To those who hide behind a shield of anonymity I do use my real name. That is because I am not embarassed about what I believe and stand by it. Someone who writes anonymously skulks about in the shadows shouting out invective and cannot face a response to what they say.

To those who asked what I look like. I do not look scary because I am not a scary person. I don't dabble in the occult.

Of course I know who wrote Dorian Gray. (do you know that he had a dramatic deathbed conversion?) I didn't read it by the way but saw the old black and white movie. For someone touting symbolism as the salvation of the HP books you certainly missed the boat on Dorian Gray and appearance.

I can only imagine that such vigorous self justification comes from a feeling of guilt and attack of conscience.

For people who say that HP is "well written"- are you kidding? Compared to what? Shakespeare? or Harlequin Romances? Harry Potter is the equivalent of "bread and circuses". Keep the masses happy, content and oblivious to the real evil in our midst. And keep us too busy indulged in the mundane to do the heroic.

Jack Noels said...

Dorian Gray is about satanism and is very anti-Catholic. I'm surprised that you think it's OK to read that book, but not HP! Indeed, I think that book is on the Catholic list of prohibited books and yet you still saw the movie.

HP is well-written compared to most modern (post 1950's) novels. There isn't a book on the top-seller list that is well-written and not about something that is mundane or silly (a lot of it is all the same old middle-age angst, adultry, crime, and what not). The HP books are about something that we should all be concerned with sacrifice, resisting evil, and the like. However, as Father Corapi repeatedly points out -- to fight evil you must know the enemy. And you can't do that be hidding away and accepting everything that someone else tells you about what a book might or might not say. Read it for yourself and see. Then you can make an educated argument about what specifically is wrong with the book.

As far as I see, the main point that people don't like about HP is the use of magic. However, this is a very weak claim. As one other comment pointed out, Tolkien also used magic and his books aren't satanic.

Several of the commenters provided valuable links that provide a balanced view of the book. Many of the links are to reputable CATHOLIC sources (such as catholic culture). So you can read for yourself what the books are really about rather than parotting what you've heard about the books.

hilary said...

Woo hoo!!!

Let the games begin!

Mary has fearlessly dived into the Harry Potter Pirhana pool and is swimming strongly.

LifeSite actually broke that story about the Pope and Harry Potter and two years later we are STILL getting flack for it.

Good Catholics everywhere just LOOOOOooove Harry.

BTW, Mary. We've been trying to reach you with some news about the League and it seems your email address doesn't work.

Send me a note at

quicustodiet66@yahoo.ca

Tx

M. Alexander said...

Dear Jack,
Very nice try. If The Picture of Dorian Gray had been on the Index of Forbidden books that would have carried some weight with me. But I've checked 3 sources- it wasn't on the list. Perhaps you have another list that you consult- I would be interested to see it.

I think the argument that "until you read the book you can't have an opinion and you don't know what you're missing" is so weak. I'm almost embarassed. I don't need to use drugs to know that drug abuse is bad. I have referred to the other "reputable" Catholic references and you know what none of them are infallible. So they are an opinion- just like I am expressing an opinion. Of course mine happens to agree with the Holy Father and Fr. Gabriel Amorth not some author who is making money on his pro Harry Potter book- coat tailing of the very worst kind.

Thank you for your comments.

Jack said...

"If The Picture of Dorian Gray had been on the Index of Forbidden books that would have carried some weight with me. But I've checked 3 sources- it wasn't on the list. Perhaps you have another list that you consult- I would be interested to see it."

Google search for the list and Wilde

Jack said...

"Of course mine happens to agree with the Holy Father ..."

Again, I want to point out that you are mistaken about what the pope's views on the books. He did NOT denounce them. There are numerous webpages stating this including the articles on Catholic Culture.

What are your specific reasons against the book? The magic argument doesn't work. I honestly want to know. I have read them and see nothing satanic about them, so I don't understand why you are so set against them. They are not suitable for young children, but for older children and adults they are fine.

M. Alexander said...

"google the list and Wilde"

Wow, you are some internet guru. Naturally that is what I did. Wikipedia.org had several references to lists. Oscar Wilde's Picture of DG was not among the books listed.

If you had googled the title the "the list" though I would urge you to be more specific, perhaps use "The Index of Forbidden Books" or the "Tridentine Index" and found a reference I bet you would have provided it. You didnt' find it because it doesn't exist.

M. Alexander said...

My objections for the umpteenth time.

Harry Potter books glamorize evil and make the power of the occult seem admirable and effectual in facing life's problems.

Weak characters are prey to becoming attracted to the occult and will dabble in it.

Not appropriate for young children? Whyever not? What about the merchandising, costumes, magic wands, books of spells specifically marketed to young children?

You claim that the Holy Father's remarks were misunderstood. Okay. You make no mention of Fr. Gabriel Amorth's remarks. Those are incontrovertible.

The more you argue, the more I have to say you want to justify yourself. If you were confident in reading and promoting them you would not have to correct my "errors".

I will never agree.
Death and Dishonor first!

Jack said...

keywords included "banned books" and "wilde" he's on the list of banned authors. I didn't keep my search list, but these terms will lead you to it.
You saw the movie, and it's worth noting that several aspects of the book were 'toned down'. See
http://www.1000misspenthours.com/reviews/reviewsn-z/pictureofdoriangray1945.htm
" But restraint isn’t the same thing as a straightjacket, and unfortunately, a straightjacket is exactly what the mid-40’s censorship regime imposed on The Picture of Dorian Gray."

His Salome was banned.

Wikipedia doesn't include all the lists, just selected authors.

Searching for wilde and dorian gray also brings up some colorful blogs (to say the least) http://pandagon.net/2005/04/29/i-caught-the-gay-from-the-picture-of-dorian-gray/
Talk about a book that glamorizes evil!

M. Alexander said...

Dear Jack,
1. The subject of this discussion is Harry Potter, not Dorian Gray.
2. I have not advocated or defended watching the movie or reading the book and nor have I urged others to read it.
3. DG is not on the Index of Forbidden Books as you yourself have discovered.
4. The point of DG is that evil is PUNISHED, not REWARDED.

I think your relentless imposition of DG is an example of a red herring argument. It lacks relevances and only serves to distract.

Jack said...

I am correcting your errors because your statements about the books' content are not correct.

If you had read the books you would know that the book in NO WAY glamorizes evil. It is very clear that evil is, well, evil. Something to be fought, not embraced. It is very clear (even to kids) that evil is bad and not something to emulate.

Moreover, the occult and the use of magic is NOT the solution to the problems in the books. Teamwork and friendship are. Indeed, most of the major problems or obstacles are overcome without the use of magic!! The students are forbidden to use magic outside of the school so clearly the teachers (and older wizards) want the children to learn to NOT rely on magic.

I am not sure where you are getting your plot synopsis, but they are not correct and do not accurately match the book (for the reasons listed above -- again, the book denounces evil, and does not present magic as a solution).

"Not appropriate for young children? Whyever not? "
Because it can be scary...It portrays evil in a very realistic way; for example, Harry's parents are murdered, fellow students are killed, Dumbledore dies so that Harry can live. For the same reason, I wouldn't read the Old Testament to young children - The OT has violence and sex (including rape, daughters seducing fathers, etc) that children can't deal with yet.

I am confident in my views. I've read all the books and look forward to the final book to see how the entire struggle between good and evil is resolved (or if it is resolved). Also, I should have mentioned this earlier, I am a devout Catholic. Reading HP hasn't shaken my faith or made me want to take up wizardry.

jack said...

" The point of DG is that evil is PUNISHED, not REWARDED. "

That's the exact same point that Rowling's makes in her books!

Jack said...

The reason I didn't respond to your statement about Fr. Amorth is that it is easy to find clergy that make the exact opposite statements.

"Secretary of the European Conference of Bishops Fr Don Peter Fleetwood said: "I don't see any, any problems in the Harry Potter series."
He said British author J.K. Rowling was "Christian by conviction, is Christian in her mode of living, even in her way of writing."


reported in Catholic news. http://www.cathnews.com/news/302/10.php

Jack said...

Oh, i forgot to mention that elsewhere Fr Amorth is less opposed to HP than you think.

"Lately Father Amorth, who is 75, has been in all the papers again, this time for taking on Harry Potter. When he recently told ANSA, the Italian news agency, that the Devil was behind Harry, luring children into supernatural adventures, he set off a debate in newspapers and Catholic chat rooms.

In truth, though, the exorcist himself does not seem all that exercised by the young wizard from Hogwarts. "If children can see the movie with their parents, it's not all bad," Father Amorth said in an interview, so mildly that it was impossible not to wonder whether he was not a little bit grateful to Harry."
Quoted from: http://www.diocesereport.com/diocese_report/news/amorth_new_rite.shtml

So, even Fr. Amorth (on whom you base much of your argument) doesn't view HP as being completely bad.

Jack said...

What does the USCCB (us bishop's council) say about the movie HP and the Sorcers Stone?

"Parents concerned about the film’s sorcery elements should know that it is unlikely to pose any threat to Catholic beliefs. "Harry Potter" is so obviously innocuous fantasy that its fiction is easily distinguishable from real life… Parents and children can enjoy this fetching tale in the same spirit of the time-honored tradition of sorcery in Eastern Literature, such as the magical figure of Merlin in the Arthurian legend."

M. Alexander said...

Wow, 5 comments in about 5 minutes. You must be really excorcised about this topic. Pun intended.

The USCCB as your reference. Would that be the same USCCB that gave a wonderful review to Brokeback Mountain? Why yes it would.

I couldn't disagree with you more in your statement that magic is not portrayed as the solution to problems. The children are in school TO LEARN MAGIC. Children spend most of their day in school. What level of importance does that translate to? So the children are to learn about the use of magic but not use it- outside of school. A paradoxical situation indeed.

jack said...

So, as you can see there are a lot of Catholic agencies and individuals that do not see anything wrong with the HP books. And in some cases, they express the view that the books help kids learn about what evil really is.

As a final thought, jimmyakin (who does NOT like the books himself) offers an interesting analysis of Cardinal Ratzinger's letters.

http://www.jimmyakin.org/2005/07/pre16_on_harry_.html
" note what the Cardinal didn't say:

He didn't say that nobody can read Harry Potter.
He didn't say that people who are secure in their faith can't read it.
He didn't say that young people of any particular age can't read it if their parents read it with them to help them understand problematic bits."

jack said...

Brokeback Mountain I LOVED that movie!
Just kidding. At least we agree on something.

The USCCB didn't give that movie a good review. It is rated as morally offensive.

Jack said...

"So the children are to learn about the use of magic but not use it- outside of school. A paradoxical situation indeed."

It's not paradoxical. It's not clear in the earlier books but in the later books, it's explained -- the children are learning magic in school to defend themselves (and humans, who are in a world that is unaware of the existence of the evil Voldemort and of the wizards) against the evil army lead by Voldemort. (Voldemort had been inactive for reasons I won't go into, but he and his followers are rising to power).
The students are being trained to fit this evil power. That's why they take classes in the Dark Arts and potions -- that's the magic they must learn to defeat.

So in sum ...students aren't learning magic to help themselves in trivial everyday things, they are learning it to defend goodness against evil . Pretty interesting, eh?

M. Alexander said...

Jimmy Akin, wow. Now I'm won over.

My dear Jack, you didn't follow the controversy about the USCCB Brokeback Mountain Review. Initially it was AIII but it was changed after the uproar. And the author of the review had his name removed. You can probably read it even now on their website. It is glowing. Quite a contrast to their review of The Passion of the Christ.

But I guess the main thing is if they agree with you. Right?

There is the obvious evil and the surreptitious evil. HP is of the latter variety.

jack said...

"My dear Jack, you didn't follow the controversy about the USCCB Brokeback Mountain Review. Initially it was AIII but it was changed after the uproar. And the author of the review had his name removed. You can probably read it even now on their website. It is glowing."

No, I didn't follow that one. (In fact, I was the last person at work to even know what the movie was about). I found out about it from my mom who saw the movie and loved it. Seriously. Her description of it was enough to make me avoid it.

rose said...

Hey. Can I break into this conversation?

Father Roderick has many excellent podcasts over at www.spqn.com and I've been listening to them for awhile now.

He has the complete interview with Fr Fleetwood at http://catholicinsider.com/scripts/hp_transcript.php

and has also produced a whole series of shows including the Secrets of Harry Potter.
It's at www.sqpn.com
While you're there check out the SaintCast. It's very good (all about saints, as you might guess from the title)

hilary said...

Dumbledore dies so that Harry can live.


Ooooohhhhh, so Dumbledore is Christ!

Thanks for clarifying. I thought he was Gandalf. You see how these things can be confused?

Go Mary!

Anonymous said...

"Dumbledore dies so that Harry can live."
Sorry to say but it's true. He was a decoy in the last book. Someone had to die and Dumbledore took Harry's place.

He's not Christ why would you make THAT connection??
Dumbledore sacrificed himself in the sense of a friend dying for his friend (to use CS Lewis' sense of the word)

hilary said...

Here ye go Jack:

Knock yourself out. And don't forget that the liberal media (of which ANSA is the leader in Italy) loooooves guys like Peter Fleetwood. He's not a man widely known for his vigorous defences of the Holy Faith.

And believe me ducks, calling yourself a "devout Catholic" doesn't carry a lot of weight. We had some of the most vicious attacks coming from self-proclaimed "devout Catholics." Plenty of "devout Catholics" out there doing alllll sorts of nasty little things. Lots of "devout Catholics" vote for pro-abortion politians too, and use very similar sounding justifications.

But of course, I know full well that none of the following will convince you. I noticed right away that people addicted to Harry Potter have a particularly strong desire to maintain it and no amoung of evidence is ever enough for them. Certainly all of your incredibly transparent justifications are true to type thus far. What always strikes me about it is the quality it has of the rabid dog defending its turf. This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.

Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/05062709.html

Vatican's Chief Exorcist Repeats Condemnation of Harry Potter Novels
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06030104.html

Ten Arguments Against Harry Potter - By Woman Who Corresponded with Cardinal Ratzinger
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071508.html

ROME'S CHIEF EXCORCIST WARNS PARENTS AGAINST HARRY POTTER
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/jan/02010202.html

Oh yes, here's the one with Fr. Fleetwood:
WORLD MEDIA FALSELY TRUMPET POPE'S APPROVAL OF HARRY POTTER
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/feb/03020703.html

So you can see Jack...

Heard

it

all

before.

hilary said...

The USCCB didn't give that movie a good review. It is rated as morally offensive.

Wrong again Jack. I was the one who outed the guy who does USCCB and CNS movie reviews...and boy was he miffed!

US Bishops' Organization Gives Glowing Review of Homosexual-Sex Propaganda Film
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/dec/05121503.html

USCCB Changes Rating on Brokeback Mountain to Morally Offensive
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/dec/05121607.html

I think you should do just a leeeetle wising up about "Catholic agencies" yah? Consider the source.

Jack said...

Hmmm. all quotes from the same website. Could they possibly have an agenda?

These posts don't change me view at all due to the OTHER posts that I cited. Jimmy Akin discusses why the pope didn't actually condemn Harry Potter (see previous link, plus this one http://www.jimmyakin.org/benedict_xvi/ -- scroll down for Lifenet). "I also resent it when a group that is aware of this tendency of the press decides to EXPLOIT it and PLAYS THEM FOR SUCKERS.

That's exactly what LifeSite has done.

Specifically: They have taken two brief instances of a person who was not the pope but who works at the Vatican and was speaking in a private capacity and presented them to the press in a way that they either knew or should have reasonably foreseen as causing the press to misrepresent these as official papal statements.

Thus one of the headlines on the Drudge Report was

POPE CRITICIZES HARRY POTTER . . .

But it doesn't stop with secular sites getting the headline wrong. LifeSite ITSELF is running a story with the gravely misleading headline

POPE BENEDICT OPPOSES HARRY POTTER NOVELS"


Also, the exorcist stories leave out the info that I quoted -- he was speaking about the evil of magic per se but he ALSO said ""If children can see the movie with their parents, it's not all bad," Father Amorth said in an interview". Isn't that the same Father Amorth that you and m. alexandar claimed said that HP is full of evil? If so, why is it ok for kids to see the movie with their parents??

So even the people you cite as in favor of your view don't really provide strong evidence for that position.

hilary said...

why would you make THAT connection??

I think that's my point there ducks. I have read here that HP is a deeply Christian work and have had Harry's courage and loyalty and whatnot cited as proof. Well, this does reveal something of a lack of knowledge of hte nature of Christian virtue does it not? Last I checked, supernatural Faith Hope and Charity are the three theological virtues to be found exclusively in Christians. What you've listed here are what we call in the Catholic Church, the natural virtues which we have in common with righteous pagans. They're good, but it doesn't mean that every book starring a hero who displays courage and love of country is a secret Christian allegory or a "deeply Christian work." By that scale, nearly all Literature is crypto Christian, all the way back to the Iliad.

My point is that seeing Dumbledore as a "Christ figure" is as much of a stretch as every other argument I've seen here for hte glorious virtues of harry Potter. Last I looked, people were seeing Christ in cheese sandwiches too and selling it on Ebay.

I'm not buying.

qlinger said...

"The students are being trained to fit (I think Jack means fight) this evil power. That's why they take classes in the Dark Arts and potions -- that's the magic they must learn to defeat."

"It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the enemy for good or for ill."
I think that the fact that the children in the HP books are told all about dark arts is enough turn off any parent. A little black magic goes a long way.
Also Rowling is affiliated with Stephan King, she has read along with him at concert readings. If HP and Stephan King are closly linked than there is more to the HP books than meets the eye.

hilary said...

Could they possibly have an agenda?


Yes ducks, it's called the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith. The agenda is to save the humans from sin and death.

LifeSite broke the news and found, as usual, a phalanx of "good devout Catholics" screeching at us like banshees for daring to insult their darling Harry Potter.

hilary said...

These posts don't change me view at all due to the OTHER posts that I cited.


Well, as I said, true to type...rabid dogs...turf...prayer and fasting.

But do ask yourself this Jack,

Why do you NEED so badly for Harry to be a good guy?

rose said...

" By that scale, nearly all Literature is crypto Christian, all the way back to the Iliad. "

actually for the most part, it IS.
Part of it is due to the influence of Christian thinking. Pre-Christ, these values were sometimes present in the thinking of the writers due to the grace of God (see Chesteron's Everlasting Man, and Kreeft's books for a review of this). Lewis alludes to this too when he talks about how the vast majority of cultures (even pre-Christ ones) have the same values because these values are the truth.

jack said...

"Why do you NEED so badly for Harry to be a good guy?"

I don't. Personally I think that Harry is an arrogant adolescent.
However, I think it's crazy for people to condemn a book and yet have absolutely no idea what it is about.

hilary said...

Interesting,

So, if everything's Christian, and especially things we happen to like, then there's really no problem in the world.

Everything can be interpreted as Christian.

Huh.

And I was all worried.

jack said...

hilary, hilary, hilary,

Catholicculture is a reputable source.
Yet they disagree with you and with lifesite.
see
http://www.catholicculture.org/highlights/highlights.cfm?id=69

The final line is "To make of them anything more is to violate the rules of evidence, and to misuse the authority of the Church to favor one’s own cause."

hilary said...

I suppose that indicates that there's no one in hell and everyone who thinks nice thoughts goes to heaven...

oh yeah, and that every religion, no matter how many snakes and shrunken heads are involved, is really crypto-Christian too, as long as someone in it is thinking good thoughts...I remember being told all this stuff in my Devout Catholic school. About 1976. I think the nun who told me ended up running off with a priest...or was it that she ended up teaching labyrinth healing massage in their empty novitiate? So hard to keep track these days.

interesting, as I said.

jack said...

"everything's Christian"

No, that's not what I said. (are you REALLY in communications/media? )

I said that there are many cases in which the values reflected in literature portrays Christian values -- even pre-Christian writings. Plato's Repulic is a good example of this and Kreeft's writings (especially his book about Tolkien) states why this is the case.

themadeline said...

I'm amazed at the lack of insight that applauds the art of "teaching magic" to fight evil. Have we forgotten that the devil is subtle? What a brilliant stroke it would be if every well-intentioned person chose the Black Arts as a means of "defeating" the devil. I guess he (the devil) would win either way, wouldn't he?

Additionally, for all the talk about who is (or is not) the hero in the series, or which virtues are (or are not) displayed, when considering whether or not these books are a danger to the Faith (especially to children, for whom the books are marketted) consider the following: whom are the children emulating from the H.P. series? Would that be H.P., himself? Yes. What are they emulating about him? Would that be his wizardry? Again, yes.

Does there need to be another reason to eschew the reading of these books?

jack said...

"bout 1976. I think the nun who told me ended up running off with a priest."

Oh..that's who taught you. 'Nuff said! I wondered where your wacky ideas came from.
Obviously thinking nice thougths won't get you (or anyone) to heaven. It involves both grace AND works.

Seriously, shrunken heads, etc. are certainly not embodying Christian values. Surely you know the difference between the word "some" and "all". Some writings (actuallly more than you realize reflect Christian beliefs) not ALL writings that ever existed.

Anonymous said...

" Black Arts as a means of "defeating" the devil. I guess he (the devil) would win either way, wouldn't he?"

Who knows if Black Arts is the way he is defeated -- book 7 isn't out yet

hilary said...

Actually Jack, I was responding to Rose (noooo, it's not all about you).

I'm sure that if Jimmy Akin and Harry Potter and the USCCB make you feel warm and good about yourself, you have nothing to worry about.

Yes Madeline,

It seems pretty straightforward when you cut through the miasma of self-jutification doesn't it?

Madeline said...

Anonymous;
Do you not get it? WIZARDRY IS EVIL; for whatever reason; whether for good or ill; whether successful or not. I suspect that a great many defenders of H.P. will not admit that they disagree with that statement, but they must. Otherwise, how could they defend this series?

But, noooo. Let's wait to see if evil is defeated in book seven; or by what means. Do you really think that children enamoured of the glamour of wizardry through H.P. will make a conscious decision, then, whether or not to emulate H.P.?

sally jessica said...

Yes, wizardry in real life is evil.
But children know fact from fiction. Do children who watch Lord of the Rings want to use magic (those books are full of magic)? Do children who read the Bible want to kill their brother, or stone people for various offenses or have sex with their father? No.

None of the kids I know want to be Harry Potter any more than little girls who dress up as princesses want to be real princesses. It's play and make-believe. They learn about the world (both good and bad aspects) through play.

How do you want your child to learn about what true evil is....by reading about a truly evil character or by meeting the devil in person?

Jack said...

"I'm sure that if Jimmy Akin and Harry Potter and the USCCB make you feel warm and good about yourself, you have nothing to worry about."

Hilary, you focus on those examples, and cling to lifesite as though it were gospel, but CatholicCulture is as reputable and I noticed that you haven't debunked them. It's tough when you have to choose, isn't it? Why not just admit that the church has not taken a position on these books and that Catholics are free to choose for themselves whether they want to read them.

Stay narrow-minded and bigotted, that's fine. There are REAL evils out there yet if you want to pick on this harmless books go ahead. It's much easier than fighting actual evil (like racism, fascism, censorship, abortion, and the lot).

Madeline said...

Sally Jesse;

"children know fact from fiction." From where did you get an idea like that?

"Do children who read the Bible etc... ?" No, because sinners in the Bible are punished for their sin.

"How do you want your child to learn about what true evil is..." By learning about true goodness. A well-formed soul will recognize evil and shun it. As my mother said to the local school sex-ed teacher, "My children don't have to roll around in a pile of dung to know that it's not good for them."

jack said...

"children know fact from fiction." From where did you get an idea like that?
I'm a developmental psychologist and there are tons of research supporting that claim (for children older than 3-4 years old).

"Do children who read the Bible etc... ?" No, because sinners in the Bible are punished for their sin.

Not always....the daughters who slept with their father were the ancestors of the Chosen People. The man who stole his brother's birthright by deceiving his blind father wasn't punished. The man who slept with his daughter-in-law wasn't punished.

You asked whether magic is always evil.
Here is a question for you. If the HP books are evil because they use magic, why aren't the Narnia books and Lord of the Rings also evil. Or have you forgotten that the children in the Narnia books use magic potions, a magic trumpet, a magic sword? If you condemn HP you must be consistent and also condemn Narnia and LOR.

Markus H. said...

For those fixating on the magic part, maybe this will help.

Thank God for Harry Potter

James F. Sennett

5/15/2005

Brace yourselves—he’s coming back. This summer will see the release of the sixth book in one of the most popular series of children’s books in history. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will present the latest adventures of the most famous and most controversial figure in contemporary literature, conjured from the imagination of British novelist J. K. Rowling.

Nowhere has Harry Potter and his band of adolescent wizards and witches been more controversial than in the church. Christian sentiment concerning the gang from Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft has ranged from the most vehement of condemnation to the most vociferous of praise.

It’s easy to see why Christians would oppose the books—their world is a world of magic, of witches, of divination and potions and all the trappings of what many people consider occult and Satanic. But why the endorsements? What could Christians possibly find to like about these books? The praise, after all, is not insignificant. It comes from such respected sources as Christianity Today magazine,1 Christian literary scholar Alan Jacobs,2 and well-known culture and media critic Charles Colson.3

As one who has added his voice to these,4 I want to tell you why I, like a growing number of Christians, thank God for Harry Potter.

WHAT ABOUT THE MAGIC?
Before we can praise these books, we must bury the most prominent complaint against them. Accusations that the Harry Potter books are occult overlook one glaringly obvious fact. In the 2,500-plus pages of the first five novels in the series, there is not one mention of Satan or demons or anything the slightest bit occult. In fact, the books are utterly secular in their orientation.

There are few spiritual themes at all—divine or demonic. The children learn magic the same way school children in our world learn science—and to the same end. Like the alchemy of the Medieval church and the technology of the modern era, the magic of Harry Potter is simply an exploration in how to make the world work to provide us with what we need in life.

So Alan Jacobs argues that the real problem faced in the Harry Potter books “is a familiar one to us all: it is the problem of technology.”5 The central issue is not the presence of the magical powers but how those who possess the powers will use them. In other words, the moral issue confronting the children in these books is that facing all of us—will we use the powers and the resources at our disposal for good or for evil?

Besides, magic has long been utilized as a tool in plot and character development in some of the greatest literature in the world, including such classics as the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and even the works of beloved Christian authors C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L’Engle. Yet there is a strange double standard at work in the church today that considers such works delightful and beneficial but condemns the works of J. K. Rowling unequivocally.

THE TRUE MAGIC OF HARRY POTTER
There are many reasons I love these books and commend them to children and adults alike. I have space here to deal only with four of the most important.

• First, these books are simply delightful reading. Rowling is a wonderful writer, and her books are an exercise in pure reading joy. And that is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Studies continue to show an alarming decline in the reading habits of adults and children alike.

Mark Twain said, “Those who do not read have no advantage over those who can’t.” Voluntary illiteracy is, indeed, the most hideous kind. But nothing encourages reading like the availability of wonderful reads. And the Harry Potter series has greatly enriched the available store of good reading available to the public in this generation.

• This leads to my second reason for loving these books. They have children reading again. In an age of video games, television, and other forms of visually oriented entertainment that dulls the imagination and shortens the attention span, children are immersing themselves in the written adventures of Harry and his friends Hermione and Ron. It is safe to say that, in reading the five books so far published, many children (especially boys) have more than doubled the number of pages they have read voluntarily in their entire lives.

• My third reason for loving these books is perhaps the most important. They convey a clear, unambiguous, and biblical moral message. In the Harry Potter novels there is a clear distinction between right and wrong, and this is again a benefit not to be taken for granted.

We live in a time of unparalleled moral ambiguity and uncertainty. And the confusion and indecision over significant moral issues that has plagued us for the last 40 years has made its way into the children’s literature we produce. We lack stories with clear moral guidelines and unequivocal messages about the rewards of good behavior and the pitfalls of bad. Instead, this generation has flooded the children’s book market with tales of doubt and insecurity concerning the choices facing us. Such works reflect the general malaise that is the heritage of our generation.

Into this literary disaster Rowling has thrust a series of books that take back the moral center. Right and wrong are clear-cut and uncompromising. True, Harry and his friends do not always do the right thing (who does?), but when they transgress it is always clear in the story that they are not doing the right thing, because it is always clear what the right thing is. Furthermore, there is a definitive battle of good versus evil in these books, and it is clear that the reader should be on the side of good.

In its endorsement of the books, Christianity Today noted, “Rowling’s series is a 'Book of Virtues' with a preadolescent funny bone. Amid the laugh-out-loud scenes are wonderful examples of compassion, loyalty, courage, friendship, and even self-sacrifice.”6
In reading these wonderful stories our children are being soaked in a long-overdue, far-too-rare bath of morality and decency. The heroes of these stories are good kids, and I for one am excited to have them serve as behavioral role models for our children.

• Fourth, the Harry Potter books celebrate the innocence of childhood. The issues these children deal with as they grow through the books are always age appropriate. The problems they face involve bullies, cheating, assignment deadlines, and budding adolescence. They are not dealing with drugs, gang violence, or sexual perversion. Children are children in these books, and that is presented as a perfectly acceptable thing to be. Harry, Hermione, and Ron have made G-rated cool among America’s children.
This last reason does lead to a caveat of sorts, however. As the children grow through the novels, the problems they face grow with them. From books four forward, the children are adolescents, and the problems they face are adolescent problems. Also, the books get darker as the battle of good and evil they portray takes on more adult themes. Death and other serious consequences enter the picture.

So parents of younger children will want to be aware: just because it’s Harry Potter doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for all children. Parents will want to read the books for themselves (not an unpleasant task at all!) and decide when their children are old enough to understand and appreciate them.

But even as the age-specific venue of the books changes, their clear message of morality and their exceptional literary quality do not. The books are exciting, educational, wholesome, and just plain fun. And none of these virtues can be taken for granted in today’s world or today’s church.

That’s why I thank God for Harry Potter.
__________
1 “Why We Like Harry Potter,” Christianity Today, 10 January 2000, 37. Available online at www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/001/29.37.html
2 Alan Jacobs, “Harry Potter’s Magic,” First Things, January 2000, 35-38. Available online at print.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0001/reviews/jacobs.html
3 Charles Colson, “Witches and Wizards: The Harry Potter Phenomenon,” Breakpoint Commentary #91102 (11/02/1999). Available online after free registration at www.breakpoint.org.
4 James F. Sennett, “From Narnia to Hogwarts: A Christian Perspective on Fantasy Literature,” Stone-Campbell Journal 7 (2004): 29-56. Many of the points I make in the present essay are developed more fully in this article.
5 Jacobs, “Harry Potter’s Magic,” 37.
6 “Why We Like Harry Potter,” 37.

James F. Sennett is professor of philosophy and interdisciplinary studies at Lincoln (Illinois) Christian College and Seminary.

qlinger said...

There is no comparison between the Hp books and the LOTR. Also children 3 and 4 are watching the Hp movies and their parents are reading the books aloud, I have heard dozens of parents say they had to go and buy there children a cape and a wand after they had read the whole book to them.
All the conversations I have seen on various blogs it always happens that the defender of HP ends or starts with calling people either bigot and norrow minded. Can you at least converse without getting rude?.

Jack said...

"There is no comparison between the Hp books and the LOTR."

Why? Can you please elaborate on that?
What about the magic in Narnia?
Young children have Narnia read to them and see the movies. Kids go see LOTR and read them, too. All these books have magic.
Why is the magic in those books not evil?

" have heard dozens of parents say they had to go and buy there children a cape and a wand after they had read the whole book to them. "
whose fault is that -- Rowlings? or the parents? If parents want to buy that junk then that's their decision (and a bad decision in my opinion), but I doubt that parents who do that will simultaneously be having serious discussions about good and evil with their children.

The books aren't bad, it's the way they are used that are bad. One household can use it explain good, evil, sacrifice etc (and there are plenty of bloggers stating how they have done that). Another household can use the same book and encourage their children to focus on the wizardry instead of the real message of the book.

The same can be done for any book. Even the bible unfortunately. Satanists focus on the evil parts of the bible and use that to guider their rituals and world-view. Should we ban the bible, too, just in case it is misused? No, of course not.

Education is the key, and you don't educated people by making them voluntarily illiterate.

jack said...

Markus H.
Thanks for posting that. I think it does a good job of providing an alternative view to this discussion.

Madeline, this quote from Markus's point is what I was getting at with my question about Narnia. Why is there a double-standard?

Besides, magic has long been utilized as a tool in plot and character development in some of the greatest literature in the world, including such classics as the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and even the works of beloved Christian authors C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L’Engle. Yet there is a strange double standard at work in the church today that considers such works delightful and beneficial but condemns the works of J. K. Rowling unequivocally.

Tradcatholic said...

Wow! What a lot of shooting from the hip in this blog! This little 'Quiddich Match' has many 'chasers' scoring so many meaningless goals with their brilliant 'quaffles'. Most in this volley seem to be 'Beaters' always deflecting the flying 'Bludgers' back to their opponents. There are really few 'Seekers' that I have seen here, trying to attain the 'Golden Snitch' - y'all are sidetracked bludger beaters, that's all.

By the way, I doubt very much that JK Rowlings consciously framed the HP series around Christian values and themes. After all, she is NOT Christian herself - she is a Protestant - but what are being labeled here as 'Christian values' are in actual fact representations of the Natural Law in each and every one of us regardless of our religion/non religion. We have for so long associated these characteristics/practices with 'religion' that we forget even pagans have the instinct to be truthful, helpful, just, obedient, etc. Natural Law. Look it up.

And...to the Beater who remarked that the students were forbidden to use the magic out of Hogwarts,...they DID use it anyway, didn't they! Many times!!

My hope for this discussion is that the Seekers emerge and the Beaters go back to their imaginary world.

The 'Golden Snitch' is still up for grabs!

Carolina said...

tradCatholic...sounds like you've read the books and know the lingo well. Naughty you!

"she is NOT Christian herself - she is a Protestant -"
huh? Protestants are considered Christian. Do you mean "not Catholic".

Anonymous said...

"
By the way, I doubt very much that JK Rowlings consciously framed the HP series around Christian values and themes. "

True, but I also doubt that she consciously framed the HP series around Satanic values and themes.

Tradcatholic said...

Ms fellow Carolina person...no I meant Not Christian. Protestantism is not a true religion, but the discussion is for a different post than here. Hope your manhunt is proving fruitful!

Anonymous said...

"the students were forbidden to use the magic out of Hogwarts,...they DID use it anyway, didn't they! "

And were punished, weren't they. Many times.

Anonymous said...

"Protestantism is not a true religion, but the discussion is for a different post than here. "

How very un-ecumenical of you! :-)
Pope JPII considered them Christian and that's good enough for me.

True religion or not, they are followers of Christ (listen to Father Groeschel's Sunday Night Live podcast on EWTN for his explanation of why protestants are our brothers in Christ. It'll be up for just this week only)

hilary said...

Stay narrow-minded and bigotted, that's fine.


well well,

aren't you sweet.

very well. for the terrible crime of having a different opinion, I accept the charge of being narrow minded and bigoted.

hilary said...

It's surprising how exactly uniform are the justifications used by the "Devout Catholics" who defend Harry.

I could write a parody of them.

"but magic is used in Narnia!"
"But Gandalf was a wizard!"

THey've been answered cogently a hundred times, but the interest here seems not to be to clarify or find the truth, to save souls or defend children.

Just to conflate and confuse and justify one's obsession.

Well, as I said. You're mind's made up, don't confuse you with the facts.

rabid dogs...turf...prayer and fasting.

suzy said...

"You're mind's made up, don't confuse you with the facts. "

I think you can say the same thing about yourself. You avoid the question of magic because you don't have a concrete answer to the question. The argument was that HP was evil because it used magic, but the Narnia and LOTR example disproves that claim. You have not provided a compelling argument, but instead have avoided the key question. WHY is HP bad? It CAN'T be because of the magic, per se, because other books use it and are NOT evil.

The only other argument made against HP is that the pope and one vatican exorcist denouced them, but as the various other articles point out, that was NOT the case. The church has not officially denounced the books and several bishops and archbishops (including the ArchB. of Sydney) have spoken favorable about the book. So that second argument has been disproven, too.

Those were the only two claims put forth against HP, but both have been falsified so you have failed to provide a winning argument.

Anonymous said...

"THey've been answered cogently a hundred times, "

Where?? I haven't seen a single link among the comments that clearly addresses this issue (and one that talks about the double-standard anti-HP have about this topic).

Instead, I see posts that say Magic is Always Evil.

Maybe you're too weak from fasting to put together a logical and coherent refutation.

hilary said...

Nope, just bored and lazy.

can't be bothered to endlessly repeat that which has been said a hundred times already.

http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/obrienpotter.html

if you're really interested.

hilary said...

http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/obrienpotter.html

hilary said...

hmmm...

experiencing technical difficulties...

http://www.lifesite.net/features/
harrypotter/obrienpotter.html

suzy said...

Thanks for the link to lifenet. That is one side of the argument and he makes some good points. But these points have also been countered elsewhere.

For example, the Archbishop of Sydney
http://www.sydney.catholic.org.au/Archbishop/STC/2001/2001129_1089.shtml

My tendency is to put more authority in the words of Bishops and clergy over those of novelists (such as O'Brian), but there are Catholic authors who also see nothing wrong with the books -- even Amy Welborn (http://www.amywelborn.com/harrypotter/article.html)

Catholicculture has several articles that defend the books.

So it looks like there are a lot of OPINIONS but not truth or no fact. Catholics, said Chesterton, are bound in faith to agree on a few things, but tend to disagree about everything else.

My conclusion is that you get out of a book what you expect to see.

This page has a fuller account of the debate
http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2005/07/pope-benedict-xvi-and-harry-potter.html

HSarsfield said...

Tradcatholic said:
"no I meant Not Christian. Protestantism is not a true religion"

The Church has always called Protestants our "separated brethren". If they are not even Christian, then how are they are brethren, and what on earth are they separated from if not from the True Vine? Some quotes from the Doctors of the Church (obviously after the Reformation) would be really helpful here. And if you would like, you may take it to email, since this thread has nothing to do with this topic.

Ian Andrew Palko said...

The Church has always called Protestants our "separated brethren".

Alright. Cite one Catholic Bishop or Pope who used the term "separated brethren" before 1945.

I'll admit that Protestants, as long as they actually believe the Christian Creeds -- Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian -- are Christians. But in that case their not "separated brethren." Let's use the correct term: heretics.

If they are not even Christian, then how are they are brethren, and what on earth are they separated from if not from the True Vine?

Okay that's a fine analysis, but let's take that to its logical end. These people willingly cut themselves off from the True Vine. Their "separation" is their own, amd when they want to renounce their errors, they're welcome back. But they are truly cut of from salvation (at least objectively). They've lost the Christian Faith even if they do accept some (because he who denies one article of the Faith denies the whole Faith).

As I'm reminded of by the Poison Ivy I've removed from my backyard, if you cut a growth from the vine it quickly dies. The Protestants have been without the True Vine for 500 years. Is it any wonder that that far removed from the source of grace (The Sacraments) that the Protestants, for the most part, are doing all the wacked out and diabolical things you see.

So yes, separated they are, accursed they are, but brethren they are not.

Murphy said...

"These people willingly cut themselves off from the True Vine. Their "separation" is their own"

What about children born into Protestant families?
Or people living in heavily non-Catholic communities who have very little exposure to the Catholic Church?

Mary J. said...

ian wrote:
"So yes, separated they are, accursed they are, but brethren they are not."

The Cathechism of the Catholic Church states otherwise:

361 "This law of human solidarity and charity", without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.
This definition applies to Protestants, too.

HSarsfield said...

Ian,

Encyclical on the Unity of Human Society
His Holiness Pope Pius XII
Promulgated on October 20, 1939:

"29. The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay."

Anonymous said...

Newadvent.org has several documents using the term "separated brethren" that are pre-1964.

HSarsfield said...

Ian said:
"Their "separation" is their own, amd when they want to renounce their errors, they're welcome back. But they are truly cut of from salvation (at least objectively)"

Of course it's their own, but it is still, none the less a separation. Also, no where did I imply that they can achieve salvation (objectively or not).

Ian also said:
"So yes, separated they are, accursed they are, but brethren they are not."

In your opinion, perhaps, but unfortunately the Church does not agree (and never has). I do agree wholeheartedly that it is way overused (just as "elder brothers in the Faith is in regards to the Jews...this one, coincidentally, is NOT used by the Church before VII. In fact it's very premise is condemned), and made to mean something that it shouldn't (as in, we're ok, they're ok, and we're all the same...balderdash). I am not overly fond of the term "separated brethren" because of this, but regardless of that the term is still very accurate, and one the Church has used and continues to use.

The Sedated Koala said...

I am simply astounded at how mean, sarcastic, and judgmental many of these posts are. I was particularly astonished that one of you judged another on the basis of his appearance in a single photograph.

Anyone reading this site would get a very, very bad impression of Christians, and Catholics in particular. You meanies.

Anonymous said...

i have heard it said that you have to read the whole book before you can judge it and call it sin, no i don't, i don't have to watch pornography to find out if it's good or not, sin is sin, witchcraft is sin, harry is a young wizard if you study anything about wicca (supposedly good witch's)you will learn that a wizard studies to become a witch. There is no good witches, there is no point teaching are children there are good witches or wizards cause there are not, and alot of kids i know personally say they want to be just like harry potter after reading the books.harry potter is not someone i want to teach or encourage any child to grow up like. I have also heard the argument that these books encourage reading so therefor they are good, i am sorry but that is one of the most dumbest things i have ever heard, if sin helps us learn then it's ok? NO! or i have also heard the argument that it teaches good values, we don't need harry potter to teach us good values, there are plenty of other reading materials out there that can teach us good values, we don't need to look for good values in books that teach us that there is good witchcraft and that teach the hero of the book cheats and lies and who's main goal is to seek revenge. you can justify just about anything it doesn't make it right, i can find some kind of moral lesson in just about anything bad it doesn't give me an excuse to partake in it, i suppose one could say i watch pornography just to learn new moves on my wife! i mean come on, sin is sin.

Christiana said...

May i remind EVERYONE this is not a battle of denominations!!!! we are the body of Christ and we are to work together... now this being said I have read all the books and for those of you who have not read the books DO NOT COMMENT ON THIS PAGE!!! If you have read book 7 then you know the sacrifice Harry makes in the name of love... are we going to argue now that well he's Jesus... People THIS IS A BOOK!!!! of course he's not Jesus but neither was Aslin, neither was Frodo, but we recongize them as resembling Jesus... authors use symbolism. Harry's journey is a struggle between good and evil... I want to know who here has not lied once in their life, who here has not stolen, who here is NOT a sinner... at the end of the 7th book Harry GETS IT... he sacrifices himself to save others!!! You people think that its all about denominations Guess What ITS NOT!!!! Get over that you're Catholic get over you're Protestant and get into the Word of God... I don't feel I'm going to Hell for reading this book because I saw the Christian undertone and maybe some of you don't have enough faith to see this... GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!

Megan H. said...

Sorry to jump in-
I am a high school student who was just confirmed in my church.

My parents allowed me to read the Harry Potter series, and I enjoyed it- as a work of fiction.

Although the writing style isn't as good as, say, Shakespeare, not everything is. A popular series for teenaged girls is the Twilight series. I don't like then at all, but I do concede that some parts were okay. Those books have awful writing, and yet they are popular. Not everyone can be as good as Shakespeare.

Furthermore, Harry Potter is a story about finding family in other places than kin. Harry, whose parents died and guardians ignore him, is able to become fast friends with two other witches and wizards.

Eventually, the trio give up what is easy- going to a safe area- to do what is right- stopping a prejudiced tyrant.

Megan H. said...

J.K. Rowling addresses the issue of prejudice to children in a fashion that is not boring, but still drives its point across.

Moreover, the books show that there is good in anyone who has faith and love, as shown in the character of Severus Snape, who was evil before realizing his mistake and going to the good side. It shows how faith can save anyone.

To address the magic issue, it is shown as an extra ability, just like being an athlete. There are summer camps that an athlete can go to, and they learn their sport. There is a potential for pressure against those who are not "good" at the sport, and yet are still attending the camp, just as there are prejudices against "Muggle-borns" who do not have a magical history.

I have never been tempted to find a stick and wave it around chanting Latin instead of working, but I still enjoy reading fantasy books.

Megan H. said...

I find Harry Potter an enjoyable read where I can lose myself into a world where there are problems that can be fixed with a magic wand, but I am not saying it is real.

Is there a problem with a movie such as "Finding Nemo"? Nemo is bullied because of his injured fin, and it is a fictional story in which fish talk. However, I am not going to the nearest pet store and talking to the first fish I see.

Harry Potter also shows the consequences of being jealous- which is one of the Ten Commandments. A character who was jealous ends up being a traitor and is punished.

To bring religion into this- well, some of the comments I have read suggest prejudice. My Christian uncle married a Wiccan woman. She is a loving mother who also doesn't go around naked dancing and doing obscene rituals.

Moreover, I studied the Native American tribes in US History last year. My teacher had an activity where he had us take notes about a tribe named the Nacirema. They scraped sharp pieces of metals on their cheeks and poisoned their food supplies.

Nacimera is the word American backwards. Men do shave themselves, don't they? And pesticides in our food?

I'll bet that the first thing you thought of when reading about the Nacirema is that they are barbaric. So did I. But then I realized that unless you trying something, you shouldn't have the right to judge.

If you judge a book series that you haven't even read- well, that's like me telling my mother that I won't eat broccoli because I don't like it, even though I have never had any.

Megan H. said...

Harry Potter has more truth in it than any magazine that has gossip in it. It is the Holocaust without religion thrown in. There are people must register to be Muggle-born/Jewish. They are given horrible fates. And that is without adding other parts of the Holocaust in besides being Jewish.

My two best friends are Jewish and atheist. They both like Harry Potter as much as I do. Personally, I don't think Harry Potter was meant to insult a religion, but was meant to be a fictional book.

Yes, it is hypocritical of me to say so, but I think that people are way too worked up over Harry Potter. Are we supposed to not learn about Galileo, too, because he disagreed with the Catholic religion? Are we supposed to ignore the countless deaths in England during the reign of Charles I? He executed anyone not Protestant.

I am just saying that it not the type of religion, but merely that you believe.

Anyway, the more you suppress your children from reading the books, the more they will be curious, and you can't shelter them forever.

Harry Potter is a great source of fantasy reading. The books never mention religion, anyway.

I have also read a book whose title escapes me, but it is about the anti-christ, and makes fun of religion in general. Is that book bad?

If Harry Potter should be banned because it goes against your Catholic beliefs, than shouldn't we lose our freedom of the press, too? I mean, the newspaper could say something mean about the President.

Although I have said this a lot, Harry Potter is fiction, and some people take their faith too far if they think they should force their ideas upon others.

Robbie said...

Hi all. My goodness aren't we all stirred up here. Thats a pity though, because then you get emotional and stop really communicating. Y'know, this discussion so far reminds me of an image my old history teacher used in class once....He was describing the shelling that would take place just before troops went 'over the top' during the trench warfare in WW1. Each side would try to bludgeoon the other with heavy artillery.

The point is obvious. How well are you all listening to each other? Is this what passes for discussion these days. C'mon folks. Try to agree on a common frame of reference and maybe you'll make some headway. Or......keep shelling.

MIchael Williams said...

hey you know what. I like Robbie, and I dislike threads like these, mainly because they're split into the two sides of "I hate it" or "I love it". The people against it are usually against it because being against it is ingrained in them. The people who are for it, read it, enjoyed it (maybe a bit too much) and are now zealously defending it as if it were the bible.

Have any of you read 1 Corinthians recently. You know some things are good. Maybe well written, full of amazing themes and symbolism, but not beneficial for one reason or another. 1 Corinthians essentially deals with that issue, the issue of using the freedom that Christians have in Christ well. This link explains the principles found in 1 Corinthians
http://www.practical-discipleship.com/will-of-god-6-8-10-principle.html
I feel that they are very applicable here. God bless you all and I hope the unity that we all have in Christ will be more important to you than Harry Potter (which ever side of the argument you are on). :D

Lynnie Sutton said...

"I will never agree.
Death and Dishonor first!"
I'm sorry, I haven't read the whole thread, but this makes me kind of mad. This reminds me of an argument an atheist made with me the other day. He called Catholics stubborn because they don't listen to arguments. This proves his point! I don't blindly follow what the church teaches-I wouldn't be ok with myself if that was true. I read and look at what I want, (not terrible stuff, don't worry!) but after everything, I still come back to my Catholicism. I am proud to say that I can defend my faith because I know their arguments. So please, do acknowledge and listen to others.
Also, I would like to mention that I am 14 and I read the Harry Potter books when the summer before 4th grade. I absolutely loved them, still do, and have NEVER considered joining a cult. I didn't understand at first why Christians were so mad about them, but now I see. Even when I was 7, I wanted to do magic, and I looked up to Harry because he was a hero. However, my mother sat me down and told me God didn't want me to be a witch, and while Harry was a hero, magic simply was not for me. I got it. I haven't wanted that for a really long time. Kids really do understand, I promise. Anyway, please do let your kids read the books and/or watch the movies, their overall theme is incredibly Christian. He does not have a "end justifies the means" attitude, but you can't tell that just from the excerpts. Please, I know you don't have to do drugs to know they are bad (your argument) but if you are as good a Catholic as you think you are, you will have no problems reading these books and still coming out clean.
Respectfully,
Lynnie