Harry Potter Confusion


#1

Where is a Catholic suppose to stand on this subject??? It seems the Church is even confused. I hear some Priests, Apologists, Bishops that say its okay. Others say no.

It seems the Protestants are more unified on this subject


#2

Harry Potter is fantasy fiction. The good guys win in the end.
Its much better than 90% of the teenage-young adult-love trash out there today.


#3

Not only do the good guys win in the end, but they do it through self-sacrifice. An example is Ron’s willingness to die in the chess game so that the evil guy (you know, him who should not be named…) can be stopped.

If your child might not get the distinction between fantasy and real regarding the wizardry, then it is a good idea to not allow them to read it, but overall the messages are good.


#4

My response in general: It is fiction.

My secondary response is: It is a matter of taste. Some people will like it and some people won’t. And that’s okay. Stephen King also writes fiction, and is very popular to judge by sales and reputation and such. But I don’t read him – Not my cuppa. And he’s okay with that (really – I met him once and he told me so).

I have at least 2 other responses that are orthogonal to these, but I will post them in separate messages.


#5

[quote=James_2:24]Where is a Catholic suppose to stand on this subject??? It seems the Church is even confused. I hear some Priests, Apologists, Bishops that say its okay. Others say no.

It seems the Protestants are more unified on this subject
[/quote]

Unanimity of opinion on a subject doesn’t necessarily speak to whether that opinion is right or wrong. I suspect there is no consensus among Catholics on this issue because it there is no black and white here. Protestants (and I think you are primarily thinking about Evangelicals and Fundamentalists) tend to address moral and biblical questions in this way, but not so, for the most part, Catholics.

As a parent I can say I was very wary of these books in the beginning. My wife and I took the time to read these books ourselves to see if there were problematic elements. We take an active role in passing the faith on to our children so we are comfortable discussing things like this with them. We discussed our concerns with them (i.e., the difference between story witches and real witches, Harry’s regular defying authority, etc) so that they would not read these books in a vacuum. We will continue to monitor the stories and movies as long as they’re interested in them. Same with other outside influences.

It would be much easier to either forbid them to read the books or see the movies, or, for that matter, to let them read and watch anything they want to with no oversight by us. But we are their parents and their moral and faith formation, and education are our responsibility. We want to protect them AND help them develop critical thinking at the same time, since we won’t always be around to do it for them. There’s no substitute for involved parenting. :slight_smile:


#6

Some people get very upset at the elements of witchcraft in these stories. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a “warning” about the “dangers” of these works that was not couched in somewhat gnostic terms, a la:

“These books are dangerous. They pose a threat to your children. They are full of witchcraft and satanism. I used to be a satan-worshipper/witch/occultist, before I was saved – That’s why I can see this danger and you can’t!”

To these, I respond: You are right, to an extent. I do not doubt that these books and similar pose a danger to you, so I would never require that you read them. You have a historical and demonstrated susceptibility to the occult. BUT: I don’t think the books are dangerous for everyone. As an analogy, alcohol may be dangerous for an alcoholic, but I would not classify it as a danger to everyone.


#7

The fact that the Bishops say it’s OK does not make it so.


#8

Now: Does anything about the Harry Potter series bother me? Yes, and it has nothing to do with witchcraft.

I am bothered by the morality in the books. And I almost gave up on the series out of boredom, since the first 3 books were almost the same story told three times. I was just about ready to throttle little Harry Potter by the end of that 3rd book.

What do I mean about the morality? Let’s look at some made-up, but representative dialog:

Dumbledore: “Harry, you scar is throbbing. Is anything wrong?”

“Not a thing,” Harry lied.

Harry Potter, you stoopid little twerp! STOP LYING TO THE ADULTS YOU TRUST! DON’T YOU GET IT? THEY’VE BEEN LOOKING OUT FOR YOU AT EVERY STEP, AND YOU’VE DONE NOTHING BUT MAKE THINGS DIFFICULT ON YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE BY LYING TO THEIR FACES! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!

Whew! That felt good. :stuck_out_tongue:


Harry Potter: Evil Plot to Destroy Souls?
#9

The books are geared for kids 12 and up. If your 12 year old doesn’t understand fantasy vs. reality and basic morality, then you have MUCH bigger problems than Harry Potter.


#10

Tee ef em,
The kind of authority defiance you mention is a good observation, but you must remember that they get in these big messes precisely because they didn’t trust the authority figures. If he would have told Dumbledore what was happening they could have straigtened things out much more easily, but then we wouldn’t have a story would we. :smiley:

To me, these episodes teach a lesson in a similar way that the Old Testament does. Sometimes the great heroes of the Bible (ie Jacob) do sinful things (ie favor one child over the others). If you follow the story long enough you see the dire consequences of his actions.


#11

I didn’t even think it was an issue, I saw it as a childs film. My little sisters enjoy it but they know its not real and they still attend mass with me on Sunday.


#12

There are many things that educated Catholics may legitimately disagree upon.

Harry Potter is one of them.

So when you guys give your opinions, make sure to mention that they re just that: YOUR opinions.


#13

Perhaps people have to take personal responsibility and make their own decision.


#14

[quote=jake]The fact that the Bishops say it’s OK does not make it so.
[/quote]

Actally yes it kind of does, when the Catholic bishops of America make a statement they are speaking for the Church in America, ganted they can’t supersede the Pope but they arn’t going to make a heritical statement.


#15

Father Gabriel Amroth the Church TOP EXORCIST warned about Harry Potter. It really is depend on the person IMO. Probably for people in Europe that has history of witchcraft they would be more sensitive ad maybe tempted. But for like, people in Singapore or maybe in area where there’s a differnt kind of dark art (Harry Potter books portray European Withcraft) then they might be not as senstivie as Europeans.


#16

[quote=James_2:24]Where is a Catholic suppose to stand on this subject??? It seems the Church is even confused. I hear some Priests, Apologists, Bishops that say its okay. Others say no.

It seems the Protestants are more unified on this subject
[/quote]

Stay away from this socery, those that tell you it’s ok, don’t believe them :bible1:


#17

[quote=Tyler Smedley]Actally yes it kind of does, when the Catholic bishops of America make a statement they are speaking for the Church in America, ganted they can’t supersede the Pope but they arn’t going to make a heritical statement.
[/quote]

Sure they can, Tyler. There is no charism of infallibility reserved to the bishops of the US. Unfortunately, there is not a lack of them that teach heresy.

About the subject of this thread, it is not the ‘job’ of the Catholic Church to review books/movies, etc., and to give pronouncements on them to the faithful. Bishops and priests can certainly give their opinion (and of course, with prayerful consideration, hopefully they will realize any guidance the HS might give the media item in question and whether it is worth warning the faithful about). I read the first book and thought it interesting a few years ago. Not great, not bad, but OK. There are other books I’d rather read. There is nothing in this book that should remotely cause someone to question their faith or to cause an occasion to sin (which would be a legitimate reason to suggest it not be read). Go ahead and read it if you want to (but again, I’d suggest there are plenty of more worthwhile books out there).


#18

Personally I don’t have a problem with Potter. But then I feel my children are well grounded in the faith, we discuss movies we see and they know fantasy from reality. What they don’t know are the subtle Chrisological themes that are prevalent in Lord of the Rings and to them they would not see the differnce between the two. If I told them they could see LOTR and not Potter they would see that as a double standard. What I would not allow is the more fanatical aspects of it like buying the video game, the toys, the cards, Harry this and Harry that. :rolleyes:


#19

I think the Harry Potter thing is waning some. The books are derivative (even the names sound like the’ve been cribbed from Dahl and T.H. White), boring, and not very well written. Having said that, JK Rowling may yet be the most influential woman alive, so we should pray hard for her. I understand she is a Chesterton fan. And having said that, if your kids haven’t read hundreds of other great books yet, they should skip hers until they have. Here are two recommendations: for boys–TREASURE ISLAND (one of the best books ever written for boys, maybe the best, easily in the top five). For girls: the Laura Wilder books–not “children’s” literature, not by a long shot.

Chris C.


#20

Initially, I was a defender of Harry Potter. I read the first two books before letting my children read them, and we went to the first movie. Then, the third book came out. This one has much more “real” witchcraft terminology in it and is much darker. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but the one teacher who begins to speak in someone else’s voice at the end of book three really sent up the warning flag for me. Too occultish. I also agree that Harry is not the greatest role model for kids – he is always breaking rules, lying and is often rewarded in the end for it.

A good motto for our family is – when in doubt, go without! Better to sacrifice something than enter into it and be sorry later. IMO


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