Catholicism and Harry Potter (Please No posting Spoilers!)


#1

I’ve heard that Pope Benedict, when he was just a Cardinal, critised the Harry Potter series of fiction and said that it was a subtile attack by Satan on the faith by making witchcraft alluring. He was supported by Rome’s chief Exorcist who also said the same thing…

Do you agree? or disagree? and why?


#2

I do agree. I have read six of the Harry Potter books and have seen the first three movies. After my wife has read to me pieces of a book named A Landscape With Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind by Michael O’Brien I have come to realize that these books are not the best thing to read. For example in the fourth book, Harry and other contestants try to tame (fight) dragons. Dragons in antiquity are a symbol of satan and evil. We should not try to tame satan. Also the main character is studying to be a wizard, which can lead to an interest into magic and witchcraft. Not to mention the fact that he is very arrogant and shuns authority. We really need to be careful of what we put into our minds, as it can pollute our thoughts and soul.


#3

About Harry Potter…
My brother, who is a priest, is currently reading his copy of the seventh book right now. He KNOWS it’s fction and it doesn’t get in his way in being a priest. I can understand younger children and teens, who might not understand fantasy and reality could deluge into ‘dark’ matters.

I personally am not interested in the mythical, King Arthur type of genre. I’ll get into science fiction instead.


#4

No, I think it is safe in the context of a sane mind with sound theology behind it!
:wink:
The books are fiction. Fiction is great- suspension of reality, fun, adventure and escapism.


#5

I was quite disappointed to see Cardinal Ratzinger’s comments. I do not believe he has read the books, based on his comments. I have not come across such an obvious good vs evil story in a long time. I guess he would be tossing C.S Lewis out as well:) . Good vs evil is evidenced in our real world, and good does not always succeed. Remember, there is no greater sacrifice than to lay down ones life for a friend. The Ms Rowling understood this quite well. My 8 year old is reading the final installment and understands that it is fiction, so I take the leap and assume adults could handle that as well. Happy reading!


#6

The thing is, that it’s fantasy. Kids have such a rich fantasy life of thier own that I don’t think that the books will confuse them. All of the books, and especially 7, have very strong Christian themes, and every time that Harrry is subverting authority, he’s taught that he shouldn’t or he’s doing the right thing when no one else will. I was very strong in my faith when I was a child and I read fantasy and sci-fi voraciously. CS Lewis employed fantasy and magic in his Narnia series, and they are all Christian books. I think the Harry Potter books are fun and stress good over evil.


#7

See this artilce by Jummi Akin regarding what the pope actually said:

jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2005/07/lifesitenews_ca.html

Also this at hogwartsprofessor.com:

hogwartsprofessor.com/?p=26


#8

O’Brien rates books this way:

  1. The book is wholly good. (Pefectly acceptable reading)
  2. The book is fundamentally good, but problematic in some respects. (Acceptable reading, but perhaps with supervision)
  3. The book appears good, but is fundamentally bad.
  4. The book is wholly bad.

Now I would say that very few reasonable people who dislike HP are going to say it is 4. Also, I don’t think many Catholic HP fanbois are going to say it is a 1. So I think the debate is whether it is a 2 or a 3. I have not read past the first chapter of the first book, but by all accounts I trust it seems to be a 2, and I have not seen a solid case made for a 3 so far. O’Brien’s (who disapproves of HP) own system appears to argue against him imo.

Scott


#9

I agree with #2. It would take a lot for me to think any book is a #1. The book is great for teaching good vs evil, life vs death and that every single action has a consquence. Also LOVE conquers all. Since you don’t want spoliers then i can’t mention some of the specifics but it is great stuff.

You can’t put an age limit on these books because ever child is different. Some 8 years have a great knowledge of reality vs ficition and some do not. You must know you childs reading abilities and you should read them first or find someone who has that can help you child when questions arise. Also remember each book is based on the corresponding year in harry life. In this last book Harry is 17 years. Therefore harry is going to go through 17yrs old problems and it is written at the langauage level of a 17yr.


#10

1.) Hog wash with the dragon stuff. Maybe in others books were dragon are used constantly but in HP the dragon is part of a trial that harry has to face. It’s not a main focus of the book and each one of us face the devil at sometime so that is not anything new or different.
2.) He is going to school. He is by nature already a Wizard in this world. It’s not something you can learn but something you are born with. Also magic is used as a backdrop. They book doesn’t teach you anything about the occult. Faith, morals and discovering yourself are some of the main focuses of the book.
3.) “arrogant and shuns authority”. Well what tennager doesn’t? The issue her is that when Harry ignores authority that he has has consquences for his actions. He and his friends have to constantly wage wheither it is worth committing these actions that will get them in trouble. Just like every person has to make. JK Rowlings make sure Harry doesn’t get a free ride just because he is Harry. Snape, and umbridge are two big teachers that come to mind. I think the Arrogant comment is un called for. I think a huge turning point that is not shown in the movies is the fact that Harry gains some feelings for snape because he himself see how is father treated Snape while he was in school. Harry doesn’t want to be like that. He also goes out of his way to accept people, NEville and Luna that others shun. He has a wonderful heart.


#11

#12

You may want to go to www.sqpn.com and download their take on Harry Potter. Fr Roderick has been creating downloadable audio (podcasts) regarding popular media for the past 2 years and has a whole series of broadcasts (21 episodes so far) on the Catholic themes within Harry Potter. sqpn.com/?cat=10

There are other series by Fr Roderick that discuss the Pirates of the Carribean, Lord of the Rings, Chronicals of Narnia and other popular films/books.

SQPN is a Catholic network that produces downloadable audio and video podcasts that can be downloaded to any mp3 player, iPod or your computer.


#13

Seems to me that Harry Potter is a great morality tale of courage, love, self-sacrifice, and good defeating evil through all of these virtues.

I can’t see anything wrong with it. It’s no worse than Star Wars, and I’d argue the very Christian virtues of Star Wars as well.


#14

i don’t think I agree. I think that if people are of an age to watch it, they should also be of an age to know reality from fiction. It is a 12 certificate and the RCC says that 12 is an age of reason (in the context of first communions etc) therefore I think that viewers will recognise it for what it is - fiction!


#15

I find the series at least somewhat problematic, but I did not try to prevent my daughter from reading it – although she knows that I refuse to read it. It was enough to realize that there were more profitable things to do with my time. Life is too short for me to spare the time for H.P. – I haven’t finished many other more worthy books.

So rather than asking if this latest book is evil, ask yourself if this is the best possible use you can make of a few hours. For some people, the answer might be yes, but not for me.


#16

Well, if we’re talking purely of Harry Potter VII, I don’t think you can even begin to construct an argument that it is evil.

Without revealing too much, the main themes of the book involve submission to a destiny greater than your own life, the ability of selfless love to conquer evil, and the infinite value of self-sacrifice. Aren’t those some major tenants of Christianity?

I’m personally not a big fan of the books, but that’s not because they don’t have a good message - they do. I just don’t like them because they don’t appeal to me as much as other novels.


#17

I have never read the books as I don’t have much interest in reading pre-teen/teen novels, but I’ve seen all the movies and enjoyed them for the entertainment value. As others have said there are good lessons in the movies and I’m assuming the books.

A parent will or should best know their child’s comprehension and understanding of fiction/reality. Having taught music at a Catholic school a few years ago when Harry Potter was huge amongst the 5th and 6th graders, the majority of them did know that it was just fiction - fantasy. I was just like them when I was 11 and 12 years old. I LOVED fantasy stories with dragons, wizards, fairies and the like. But I also knew it wasn’t real and it didn’t make me doubt my faith or beliefs. It was just a place to develop and play with my imagination. I love Lord of the Rings as well and that has good wizards and bad wizards, just as Harry Potter has the good and bad wizards.


#18

There’s a big difference between dragons as symbols of evil and dragons are evil. In the same way then, people use the snake to symbolize Satan, but snakes by themselves are not evil.

Also the main character is studying to be a wizard, which can lead to an interest into magic and witchcraft.

This has often been used as an excuse against reading Harry Potter–but is really pointless since it would depend more on how parents would guide their children.

Not to mention the fact that he is very arrogant and shuns authority.

Actually, Harry only shuns authority when he deems it necessary; he looks up to quite a number of people including Dumbledore and Hagrid, and has a grudging respect for Snape.


#19

We could show that literature is representative of SPIRITual ideas. That in itself is a pretty extensive subject. Instead I’m going to offer you some evidence there is a darker influence in Harry Potter, which is demonic.

First we should recognize that satan worshippers will turn everything upside down and backward. Note that in C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” he refers to the devil as “our father below” this is consistant with JESUS saying in Scripture, that some are of their father the devil, even as those who do the will of GOD OUR FATHER are of the FATHER. I paraphrase there. (John 8:44)

I have read some of the books and seen some of the movies. So let us do a quick analysis of Harry Potter. Starting with the Titles of these books.
Year One: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Year Two: Chamber of Secrets
Year Three: Prisoner of Azkaban
Year Four: Goblet of Fire
Year Five: Order of the Pheonix
Year Six: Half-Blood Prince
Year Seven: Deathly Hallows

Now we can show in the Scriptures the Comparison of Saints to SPIRITual stones. The TEMPLE which JESUS built is made from the souls of Saints and the LAW is written on their hearts like as to the tablets of stone of the Ten Commandments. JESUS being the Chief Cornerstone. The Sorcerer then is a magical contrarism to the first commandment. This is saying a saint of satan? . … reverse from Scripture, because it is demonically inspired?
Chamber of Secrets . … The Sacrement of Confession . …
Prisoner of Azkaban . … Rather than to make free, to lead into captivity and slavery . …
Goblet of Fire . … The Sacrement of HOLY EUCHARIST . …
Order of the Pheonix . … Sacrement of HOLY Orders . …
Half-Blood Prince . … and inversion of the incarnation . …
Deathly Hallows . … Blasphemy . … rather than to make holy, to make unholy . …

Further seven has the meaning of ARCHANGELS, the LAMP STANDS before the THRONE OF GOD.

Further where as a person raised Catholic might have been taught by nuns, but Harry Potter is taught by witches, abused at home, goes off to school to be taught by witches . . .

where as Harry Potter is studying to be not a priest but a sorcerer . …

Everyone who takes the mark of the beast developed a large “sore” the scar on Harry’s forehead . …

My point is this isn’t just a fiction tale with an occult theme, this is a carefully designed satanic plot in the tradition of satanic cults, which relates to things HOLY but makes them descrated and “unholy” but turning everything around upside down and backward . … they are seducing children (being produced by a major publisher of children’s education books Scholastic) into occult thinking, but shrugging it off as “just fiction” . …

Satan is having a hey day, attacking the Church accusing of sin, that he created, and then seducing children into blasphamy and lust (pornography means “devil’s pictures”) . …

We should recognize satan is using the “media” (iran was once known as media) to attack the west and they buy into the lie, fulfilling scripture in the last days.

In anycase, I’d steer clear of the devil’s blasphamies (Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, and a plethora of other blasphemous films, books, and albums which praise sin and the devil and deny JESUS CHRIST). If there is any doubt about the days in which we live . … with apostacy and satanic worship being taught to children . … as they kill their children in abortion (50,000,000 dead babies witness against them, as does their storing up riches and ignoring the least of people).

I’m sure there are good people out there keeping the WORD in righteousness. Keep up the good work.

LOVE your neighbor as yourself.
Amen.


#20

OK, first off, the statement by then-Cardinal Ratzinger has been blown way out of proportion by the ‘anti-Harry Potter zealots’. There’s another post in here linking to Jimmy Akin’s analysis of what was actually said–very worth reading, and I’m not going to re-invent the wheel.

If the question is, “does Harry Potter make witchcraft alluring”, I would have to come down very firmly on the side that ‘no, it does not’.

First of all, those who have said that it does seem to have either not read the books at all, or have read them with the veneer-deep ‘check off this list if this word appears’ analysis that kicks out knee-jerk responses: “if this word appears, then it is evil”.

In the novels, Harry Potter is not studying to become a wizard, he IS a wizard, and has been a wizard from birth. Being a witch/wizard in these novels is no different than possessing some other genetic trait–you have it, or you do not. Without the trait, you cannot gain the ability (note Squibs–despite the ‘QuikSpell’ course, Mr. Filch could never learn to cast spells because he is a Squib–the QuikSpell course is just like those ‘get a college degree by mail’ scams in the real world).

The magic of Harry Potter is more MacGuffin than plot-essential. Although it’s hard to imagine now that it’s been written this way, the magic COULD have been changed to something else without disrupting the undergirding theme.

What does Harry Potter teach? Love, friendship, loyalty. The world isn’t divided into nice people and evil people (that is, some evil people can sure seem nice; some good people can sure seem not-so-nice). There is something worse than death. What is right may not be easy.

I won’t say that there’s no reason at all to be concerned about the content of the books, but they are most certainly not an attack on the faith, subtle or not-so-subtle; nor would I agree that they make ‘witchcraft alluring’.


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