Ok a quick question. What do you think about teens reading Harry Potter? I have read them up to now, but heard that they have been banned by the Vatican I personally think that there is nothing wrong with reading them. I understand that the contain a large amount of magic, but I believe that I am close enough to God, and know enough about my faith to understand that this is all just fantasy and not real. Also, why is this book banned and others that use the same amount of magic and are just as popular to teens such as the book Eragon not banned?
The Vatican hasnt banned them. Ultra Orthodox people will try and spin it that way, but its an outright lie. Then they will tell ya who are you to have an opinion differing from the Pope - Hes the Pope, surely every single opinion of his is more correct than yours/ours. Bottom line: The facts
Pope never bothered to read it: Someone esle did and told him its a danger - w/o reading the books, he based an opinion that the person who did, was correct and he made an OPINION.
HP books are harmless as long as your kids are at least semi grounded in the faith.
I think any caveats against reading them should arise from literary concerns, not theological. I tried reading the first one; it reeked, but it didn’t teach me witchcraft (OR bad Latin, for that matter).
Oh, and the Vatican doesn’t ban books outright anymore
I have read all the books before I would allow my children to do so. I make sure after each book to have a discussion with them about reality and imagination (my children started reading them in second and third grade). I also make it a point to talk about good versus evil and bring it all back to God versus the Deceiver( hows that for HP- like use of “he who shall not be named”). I also talk about the importance of friendships and family shown through the books. The only book that I talked to them about beforehand was “HP and the Goblet of Fire”- I warned them that a character dies and it might be disturbing to them. My children are also encouraged to read the Bible just to make sure we round everything out.
My mom’s impression was that at times, HP and friends prevailed because they were willing to disobey. The head guy at the school even tells them it’s OK to disregard some of the rules (ie the end justifies the means). It’s the part where HP uses the magic watch to turn back time and save the creature and go free his godfather.
It’s important to talk about this part, and perhaps put it in a more positive light of being righteous civil disobedience since, in this imaginary world, their means is not intrinsically evil. Well, I don’t know that there is a teaching on whether manipulation of time is intriniscally evil or not…:shrug:
Firstly, I certainly hope that Eragon isn’t as popular. It’s an unoriginal and superficial book that certainly doesn’t deserve the ammount of popularity it does have. :rolleyes:
Second, the first HP book did not “reek”. It was marvelous as what it was intended to be, a charming fantasy tale aimed at 11 year olds that opens the doorway to a more profound and mature story.
Third, I let my 3 year old watch the movies. I certainly will enourage her to read the books once she’s old enough. I think they’re absolutely fantastic and full of Christian morals. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t willing to see the forest through the trees.
Fourth, as previously stated, the Vatican hasn’t banned them. A certain exorcist from Rome is very outspoken against them, but it is just his opinion. The statement against the books that the Pope made was made without having actually read them and also I believe before he actually became Pope.
Fifth, I believe that parents who fear their children will be influenced into witchcraft or occult practices because of these books grossly underestimate their children’s intelligence.
Sixth, the reason that these books are condemned more than say Eragon or Lord of the Rings, when there is no real difference between the magic used in each, is probably mostly because Harry Potter takes place in a modern world almost exactly like our own and parents fear their children will not be able to distinguish between the two. (Again, underestimating and probably projecting their own lack of imagination on their children.)
Also because HP uses words like “witchcraft” and “witch” in a positive way and parents fear their children will then project that positive view to the same in our society.
I have never understood the parents who say that the Harry Potter books are bad because they involve magic and it will turn their kids into witches. IMO if the child is capable of reading the book by themselves then they are able to know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Children have this amazing ability to play pretend most children play “house” “resturant” or make up entire games by themselves, if you explain that the Harry Potter books are just pretend then how will they adversely affect your child? It has also increased the amount of children who actually sit down and read a book. Yes, some children choose to read on their own and some have parents who make them read outside of school. But the Harry Potter books have increased the amount of children who like reading.
Personally, I liked them because they are engaging to read, for me if I start reading one of the books I can’t put it down untill I finish it. To me that is a sign of a good book.
J. K. Rawlings’ “Harry Potter” books are a great read for adolescents. They are fun and imaginative and pose no real spiritual problems for the ordinary young person. I got reading them when they first came out and bought them for my children. I’m eagerly awaiting the final installment.
It is simple really. It comes down to a daily struggle to help children maintain their faith into adulthood in a world that is contantly working to pull our kids away from Christ. HP is just another example of a culture that has turned from God and many parents see no reason to allow their kids to read them, even if the risk is fairly small, there is no need to voluntarily risk kids souls.
Not to start a fight (there are enough fights on this subject), but it wasn’t just “a certain exorcist from Rome.”
Father Gabriele Amorth is indeed the exorcist, the most senior and respected member of his calling. A priest for 50 years, he is the undisputed leader of the city’s six exorcists (appointed by the cardinal to whom the Pope delegates the office of Vicar of Rome) and honorary president-for-life of the International Association of Exorcists. He is 75, small, spry, humorous, and wonderfully direct.
“I speak with the Devil every day,” he says, grinning like a benevolent gargoyle. “I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years.”
I agree. I will listen to the chief exorcist on this subject before I would listen to anyone else, except of coure the Pope. I know of no-one that deals with this stuff more then a chief exorcist. The problem is, many Catholics look at exorcism as a joke.
Not to prolong an argument, but he is a “certain exorcist from Rome”. He has no special authority and is quite fallible. Frankly, I’m not impressed with him. I don’t care how many exorcisms he’s performed, his statements about Harry Potter do not echo Catholic teaching on the nature of Good and Evil.
I trust that those who condemn Harry Potter and refuse to let their children experience it are consistent in their discipline and also forbid Narnia, Lord of the Rings and pretty much any fantasy story or fairy tale that contains magic. If you do that then I may not agree with you, but at least I can admire your consistency.
However, there are certain differences between HP and LOTR. For instance, in LOTR the good characters do not cast spells on people…only on objects. They invoke the aid of angel-like figures, including one who greatly resembles the Blessed Mother.
Harry does cast spells on people. He is a character in a realistic world (unlike LOTR). I don’t doubt that he exhibits Christian morals and means well. However, casting spells is serious stuff.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, none of the children are encouraged to use magic and, when they do, the consequences are obvious.
I’m not sure what you mean by your reference to “uninformed laity”. If you mean me, then first of all I’ve never said you should base any judgements on what I’m saying. I believe you should form your judgement of Harry Potter by actually reading the books and then comparing them to established Catholic teaching, such as the Catechism. Also, I’m not uninformed. My beliefs on morality and the issue of good and evil come straight from a thorough reading of the relevant sections in the Catechism. Father Amorth’s, though I’m sure he means well, simply do not match what I have read there.
Note that you have based your conclusion that the magic in LOTR and Narnia is not evil on two things:
Where the magic comes from.
How it is used.
This is exactly how all magic should be judged. We should not assume that all magic is evil all the time by nature, as Father Amorth does, because NOTHING is inherently evil. It can only be evil based on where it came from, what was done to get it, and how it is used. If you apply those standard to Harry Potter you will see that the only evil magic in the books is that magic which is clearly labeled so, the magic that Harry and his allies fight against.
In LOTR it is natural that certain characters have magic because of their race. Gandalf uses “magic” because he is a Maia (though we don’t know that) and the Elves have “magic” as part of their very nature. This magic is endowed on them by their Creator, Eru, but in LOTR we don’t know that. You don’t know who Eru is or who the Valar are until you read the Silmarillion which most LOTR fans don’t because it’s a very difficult book.
Similarly, the magic in Harry Potter is something that, like Tolkien’s Elves, people are just born with. It is a part of their very nature. We are not told it comes from a Creator, but neither are we in LOTR, and it is the only logical conclusion. This magical ability, as part of the character’s very nature, must be inherently good.
Since in the “Potterverse”, as fans call it, magic is inherently good and is a natural ability, the only thing that can make it evil is how it is used. And that would be the very reason for Hogwarts School. Magic is a powerful responsibility and young witches and wizards attend Hogwarts to be taught to use it properly. Of course, being human not all witches and wizards want to play by the rules. Some of them go bad and use magic for evil. And the distinction between those that use magic for good and those who use it for evil is extrememly clear. There are some times when the moral lines are a little blurred, but that is because the morality of human actions is not always a black and white issue, as the Catechism shows. Sometimes it is very clear when an action is evil, sometimes you need to take into consideration many things to know for sure. The portrayal of good and evil in HP is very realistic and very Catholic.