"Vatican Slams Harry Potter as 'Wrong Kind of Hero"

The Vatican offered its latest view on the good vs. evil debate over the immensely popular Harry Potter series in a recent edition of its newspaper, headlining an article by an expert in English literature who calls the teen wizard "the wrong kind of hero."

In the article, "The Double Face of Harry Potter," published by the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano this week, Edoardo Rialti writes about the harmful effects of the "half-truth" messages presented by JK Rowling in the Potter saga...

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Good article. I am sure we ALL agree:popcorn:

[quote="John_of_Woking, post:2, topic:249225"]
Good article. I am sure we ALL agree:popcorn:

[/quote]

I hope you made extra popcorn! :wave:

I would agree this series is NOT for young children. IMO, whenever characters are acted out by humans, I personally don't want my young children watching something they don't have the brain development to tell the difference between reality and fiction.

And so, in my house, this series will be held from their viewing/reading until they are much older.

That said... There is NOTHING in this story that I as an adult perceive as a "truth"... It does not speak to reality at all to me... Like the writings of many authors it does seem to parrallel some current events... Wars with tyrants, who don't care for the life they are supposedly leaders for... Soilders taking lives in order to defend freedoms and such... But then I read the last books at the height of the Iraq war... However, I don't fear for stable minded, adults...

The only discussions I've personally had with adults fall into these topics: whether or not they cared for the story. If they think the quality of writing is any good. The mega $$ this series is generating. Wow... look at how far this single mother with virtually no money has come. Whether they did well by the book with the movie. How well the acters portayed their characters... Never once has a moral discussion come up with how someone handles someone... And I've not met a single adult that was looking to turn to witchcraft after reviewing this movies...

I have however, worked with a nutter that claims to have been a witch. Apparently, she decided to not be one anymore... and so I did in fact exit that scene as quickly as possible.

I do wonder about the brains within the adults that would take their children to see such violence.... regardless of "half truths" or not....

OK, just so you know its been a while since I'v read HP and don't really remember the last few books, and I found the books enjoyable but am no big fan.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:1, topic:249225"]

"Despite several positive values that can be found in the story, at the foundations of this tale is the proposal that of witchcraft as positive, the violent manipulation of things and people thanks to the knowledge of the occult, an advantage of a select few: the ends justify the means because the knowledgeable, the chosen ones, the intellectuals know how to control the dark powers and turn them into good."

[/quote]

Sigh, Harry Potter is not the occult. Occult magic and the fantasy magic are completely different. HP does not call on powers outside themselves to gain power.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:1, topic:249225"]

"This is a grave and deep lie, because it is the old Gnostic temptation of confusing salvation and truth with a secret knowledge," he adds.

The fables by Tolkien and Lewis, the article continues, describe the "rejection of magic and power" and offer "grave and destructive consequences" for those who are seduced by magic.

[/quote]

Really, so Gandalf or the elves doing magic is a rejection of magic? Do not they do good magic. Elrond raising the river to hold back the Nazgul was a rejection of magic and power? Lucy continuing to go into the magic wardrobe was a rejection of magic. This in an absurd claim, by someone who has not thought seriously about the three series.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:1, topic:249225"]

In contrast, Rowling's story shows a disregard for the "muggles," the humans in the story who do not possess magic, Rialti observes.

[/quote]

Yeah, by the bad characters, just like there is disdain for little folk by Saruman.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:1, topic:249225"]

"There is nothing more antithetical to Harry Potter than Tolkien's young Frodo or Lewis' Pevensie siblings."

Tolkien and Lewis portray "the extraordinary discovery of true Christianity, for which the main character of history is not an exceptional human being, like in the ancient paganism or in today's ideologies, but a person who says yes to the initiatives of God's mysteries."

In Rowling's stories "we are told that, at the end, some things are not bad in themselves, if used for a good purpose: violence becomes good, if in the right hands and [used by] the right people, and maybe in the right dose."

[/quote]

So Aragon was not an exceptional person? (He was after all a last remaining of the King's line who had lived a long time because he was half elf). HP also has to say yes to go to the school. In some ways HP is more anti- occult because magic was something HP was born with, not something he could learn or acquire, unlike Frodo acquiring the magic ring and Lucy learning to go to Narnia by "believing."

BTW, thanks for spamming this forum with HP threads, in which you add absolutely nothing to the debate which has not already been discussed and just re post really old articles.:rolleyes:

With respect to the Christian Post, this isn't what "the Vatican" says about Harry Potter. It's what Edoardo Rialti, a some time writer for L'Osservatore Romano says. His real job is as an English Professor at the University of Florence.

Here is a nice article about the differences of opions that the newspaper has published regarding HP.

catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0800250.htm

I object! This article is about a book review, not a statement from the Vatican! There are lots of other authors who hold completely different views, as the article admits near the end. (Some of which write for the exact same paper as this fellow!)

[quote="Allegra, post:7, topic:249225"]
I object! This article is about a book review, not a statement from the Vatican! There are lots of other authors who hold completely different views, as the article admits near the end. (Some of which write for the exact same paper as this fellow!)

[/quote]

It seems the paper, L'Osservatore Romano, has been hosting a duel of sorts beteen writers who are debating the merits (or lack thereof) of Harry Potter. I hope it is boosting their circulation. ;)

The funny thing is, you can't say "the Vatican" meaning the newspaper without claiming both sides of the debate.

[quote="Corki, post:6, topic:249225"]
With respect to the Christian Post, this isn't what "the Vatican" says about Harry Potter. It's what Edoardo Rialti, a some time writer for L'Osservatore Romano says. His real job is as an English Professor at the University of Florence.

Here is a nice article about the differences of opions that the newspaper has published regarding HP.

catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0800250.htm

[/quote]

I (as a non Harry Potter fan simply due to tastes) think that some people are taking Harry Potter books/movies way too seriously-including Edoardo Rialti.
Just say hypothetically speaking,if Harry Potter was this immoral character and done witchcraft etc-does this mean that Catholics would not be allowed to watch it?
I mean,could someone tell me please if being Catholic means you are only allowed to watch movies with moral characters?
In my view fiction is just fiction and providing one isn't influenced by the script/characters to then act the same way,would be ok.
Does it have to be that these characters are taken as 'educational' and can only be watched if the character provides good virtues?
I mean,a fiction movie is the creative work of the writer,and sometimes the characters might act in ways that we shouldn't or don't agree with,but does that mean we are not allowed to watch/get enjoyment from these movies?
I notice that some analyse Harry etc character to try to come to the conclusion that he provides good virtues and others like Rialti,in their personal analysis come to the the conclusion that his/the movies virtues and "ways" are bad.
But do we really have to take fiction so seriously where we analyse the characters to try to find educational value?

Hmm...i guess i'm trying to ask people here is that even if a movie (any movie) has immoral characters and doesn't have a "moral plot"or a Godly ending etc,doe's that mean the Church says we are not allowed to watch it?
Can somoen tell me does the Church forbid this?

(Ps.I'm asking regarding rational adults here & not so much young children which some may be impressionable.)

[quote="music2, post:9, topic:249225"]
I (as a non Harry Potter fan simply due to tastes) think that some people are taking Harry Potter books/movies way too seriously-including Edoardo Rialti.
Just say hypothetically speaking,if Harry Potter was this immoral character and done witchcraft etc-does this mean that Catholics would not be allowed to watch it?
I mean,could someone tell me please if being Catholic means you are only allowed to watch movies with moral characters?
In my view fiction is just fiction and providing one isn't influenced by the script/characters to then act the same way,would be ok.
Does it have to be that these characters are taken as 'educational' and can only be watched if the character provides good virtues?
I mean,a fiction movie is the creative work of the writer,and sometimes the characters might act in ways that we shouldn't or don't agree with,but does that mean we are not allowed to watch/get enjoyment from these movies?
I notice that some analyse Harry etc character to try to come to the conclusion that he provides good virtues and others like Rialti,in their personal analysis come to the the conclusion that his/the movies virtues and "ways" are bad.
But do we really have to take fiction so seriously where we analyse the characters to try to find educational value?

Hmm...i guess i'm trying to ask people here is that even if a movie (any movie) has immoral characters and doesn't have a "moral plot"or a Godly ending etc,doe's that mean the Church says we are not allowed to watch it?
Can somoen tell me does the Church forbid this?

(Ps.I'm asking regarding rational adults here & not so much young children which some may be impressionable.)

[/quote]

My primary gripe against the Potter books is that they are marketed specifically to children. The publisher is Scholastic Press. Scholastic was distributing children's books when I was a child. They're still doing it. So then Harry Potter is specifically in the children's books market.

Certainly adults can discern and process this stuff. I really had no interest in the stories but read several of the books and saw several of the movies because I was challenged by a relative who swears by the stories as Christian allegory or something to that effect. Which they are clearly not, I might add.

There's alot I didn't say in my prior posts because this topic isn't about me and my tastes specifically. That would make my objection to Harry Potter completely subjective and I did not pull these opinions out of my head. These opinions are based on something else. I found the storyline in the books, and Rowling's writing style to be unnecessarily cluttered with information. Creating a new world means understanding it, and it means a new vocabulary(still not sure what a "horcrux' is. I think I understand "muggle." Not sure if it wasn't meant as an insult to anyone in the future who might criticize her work) After awhile such things get a little tedious. Certainly Tolkien did it, but he did it in a very visual way, describing the character in great detail. You already knew it was a talking tree before he began to refer to it as an ent. I must confess that I was not terribly fond of the "ent" characters in TLOTR, but the objection is after the fact and so I plodded through it. The biggest problem I had with the Potter books is that they seemed to blur the distinction between virtue and vice. But then that is simple pagan philosophy. "Do what you will and harm none." It's rampant throughout Rowling's narrative.

My own personal difficulty with the investigation is that I looked for the books in the library. In the outset I could not find them. The librarian informed me that they were only in the children's section(there we go again...even the libraries specifically categorize them as children's books). I wanted to read them in sequence, of course, I went with the belief that I would not have to read them all, only the first one, possibly the second. However the books are immensely popular and the only copy of Potter on the shelf was the third or fourth one("prisoner of something"). I took it home and it was almost immediately obvious to me that the author was making the assumption that the reader was already familiar with the world she had created. It was nearly unintelligible. I had to take it back and wait for a copy of the first one to be returned.

But in the meanwhile, children are reading these books. All of the multiple copies of each title that the library had catalogued were in the hands of a child somewhere out there. So then, the target audience for these stories is the most vulnerable population group out there. Narnia was Christian allegory. TLOTR really didn't gloss over the magic very much, in fact, the magic was not an integral part of the story. Even when the Ring makes the characters invisible there is no real attempt to explain "how" the ring does what it does. In fact, Tolkien goes so far as to say that Sauron poured so much of himself into the ring that no one could use it without being corrupted. The Ring was absolute evil, could not be used, and must be destroyed. So much for magic in TLOTR. The Hobbit, on the other hand, had an entirely different perspective of magic than TLOTR. It was much more of a fairy tale in nature and not so much the fantasy pseudohistorical narrative that TLOTR was. So when you're processing the "magic" in TLOTR, it's all very cerebral and I think Tolkien meant it to be that way. Rowling is very surface level with her "magic." Here is power which you can acquire and use as you will.
This post is already getting long and I don't know if there is a character limit on each post, so I will end it rather abruptly here. But please don't think for a moment that my objection to Potter is surface level or misinformed. I've done my homework. And I stand by my position irrevocably. Potter is not for children.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
My primary gripe against the Potter books is that they are marketed specifically to children. The publisher is Scholastic Press. Scholastic was distributing children's books when I was a child. They're still doing it. So then Harry Potter is specifically in the children's books market.

Certainly adults can discern and process this stuff. I really had no interest in the stories but read several of the books and saw several of the movies because I was challenged by a relative who swears by the stories as Christian allegory or something to that effect. Which they are clearly not, I might add. .

[/quote]

So in Narnia, Edmund betrays his siblings and the Narnia world to the Witch for sweets. :shrug: A main character is immoral. :eek: And these books were specifically marketed to children. Christian allegory or no.

I think it is funny that you are trying to make distinctions between LOTRs magic and Hp magic. I don't think the elves' magic and gandalf's magic was very cerebral, in fact the story line could not have been advanced if not for the magic. In both stories the magic was a part of everyday life. You did give any examples for why HP blurs lines between virtue and vice. So I can't really comment since I don't know to what you are referring. Or to what you are referring when you speak of the "do know harm" theory. Pagan? it really sounds like a restatement of an American philosophy of "You have the right to swing your fists all you want, but that right ends at the tip of my nose."

You are making arbitrary criteria and distinctions that you only apply to HP and exempt all other fiction and specifically fantasy books that you like. It is one thing to say you don't like it because you can't start in the middle of a series (which I doubt you could pick of the Two Towers and understand what is going on) or you don't like the writing style. It is another to say it is dangerous or to second guess parents' evaluation of their kids ability to handle the material.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
My primary gripe against the Potter books is that they are marketed specifically to children. The publisher is Scholastic Press. Scholastic was distributing children's books when I was a child. They're still doing it. So then Harry Potter is specifically in the children's books market.

[/quote]

So was The Wizard of Oz.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
It was nearly unintelligible. I had to take it back and wait for a copy of the first one to be returned.

[/quote]

Of course it would be unintelligible. That's how sequels work in the first place.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
Rowling is very surface level with her "magic." Here is power which you can acquire and use as you will.

[/quote]

Just what is your problem with a 'surface-level' style of magic? You won't object to the surface-level violation of conventional physics in science-fiction so long as there's some frizzy-haired, Einstein character giving a long-winded explanation but you cry demonic when such phenomenon is suddenly labeled 'magic'?

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
My primary gripe against the Potter books is that they are marketed specifically to children. The publisher is Scholastic Press. Scholastic was distributing children's books when I was a child. They're still doing it. So then Harry Potter is specifically in the children's books market.

Certainly adults can discern and process this stuff. I really had no interest in the stories but read several of the books and saw several of the movies because I was challenged by a relative who swears by the stories as Christian allegory or something to that effect. Which they are clearly not, I might add.

[/quote]

I am sorry you had that experience at your local library. Our library puts them in the YA (young adult) section. I have worked many Scholastic book fairs at school and Scholastic puts them in the "teen reader" category. The reading level alone is not going to reach most kids below about 6th grade. That's around age 11 or 12. (The Lexile level for the first HP book is 980 putting it near the top of the 6th grade range. For comparison, The Fellowship of the Ring is a 860)

The marketing is another problem but that doesn't really have anything to do with whether the content of a book is suitable for children. You can't judge a book by it's advertising. :)

I'm not entirely sold on the Christian allegory view myself. But that doesn't mean I don't recognize many Christian elements. That is true for much of the fiction that comes out of western literature because Christian elements are part of our culture. Christian elements or even blatant Christian themes doesn't make a book good or bad. There's a lot of bad Christian literature out there. (look at the Left Behind series)

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
Rowling is very surface level with her "magic." Here is power which you can acquire and use as you will.
.

[/quote]

Sigh, no in HP you cannot acquire magical ability. You either have it or you don't and you go to school to learn how to control it. .

[quote="Theophilus777, post:10, topic:249225"]
Creating a new world means understanding it, and it means a new vocabulary

children are reading these books.

Here is power which you can acquire and use as you will.

[/quote]

Generally, in fiction, the story creates a new world, new characters, and things that do not exist in real life. That is why it is FICTION. (you seem to have trouble grasping what fiction is - fiction means it is not real).

What is your definition of "children"? What age?

You read a book or 2. Would a typical 6 or 8 year old really pick up a several hundred page book and read and understand the books on their own? Hmmmm, not likely. A 10-12 year old - sure. Can a 10-12 year old understand reality versus fiction. YES! Since a 12 year old is often in middle school or junior high, it is fine.

Show me WHERE any power is ACQUIRED anywhere in any of the books. Who learned how to do magic who was not born with the ability?

Do you know what a Muggle is? A Muggle is someone who is born who cannot do magic. You are a Muggle. I am a Muggle. I bet every person who reads these boards is a Muggle! Know matter what classes we might take, we could never do magic, simply because we were born Muggles!

If HP is not your style and you don't like the stories, that is fine. Not everyone likes every style of story. No problem. But stop saying "The Vatican says this" and "The Vatican says that" because it is simply NOT TRUE.

[quote="jilly4ski, post:14, topic:249225"]
Sigh, no in HP you cannot acquire magical ability. You either have it or you don't and you go to school to learn how to control it. .

[/quote]

This is actually explained all over the place in the book. The prime example is Petunia, the sister of Lilly. Lilly is Harry's (dead) mother who was a witch, Petunia was a muggle. Petunia couldn't "learn" magic, not because it was "forbidden" or anything, but because it's impossible. Within the HP universe, it would be like trying to "teach" men how to get pregnant, it's just not going to happen. You can't learn magic if your not born with the ability, that's the rule in HP, and it's never broken.

*So in Narnia, Edmund betrays his siblings and the Narnia world to the Witch for sweets. :shrug: A main character is immoral. :eek: And these books were specifically marketed to children. Christian allegory or no. *

Actually you are wrong. Edmund committed an act of betrayal but it was a single incident. Furthermore, in his subsequent slavery to the white witch he is clearly miserable and the story more than implies he has made the wrong decision. Yet furthermore, it is Edmund's betrayal for which Aslan dies in substitution, thus completing the parallel with the Cross. To say that Edmund's sin validates all the malice and evil example in the Potter books is really stretching things a bit, don't you think?

I think it is funny that you are trying to make distinctions between LOTRs magic and Hp magic. I don't think the elves' magic and gandalf's magic was very cerebral, in fact the story line could not have been advanced if not for the magic. In both stories the magic was a part of everyday life. You did give any examples for why HP blurs lines between virtue and vice. So I can't really comment since I don't know to what you are referring. Or to what you are referring when you speak of the "do know harm" theory. Pagan? it really sounds like a restatement of an American philosophy of "You have the right to swing your fists all you want, but that right ends at the tip of my nose."
I've had plenty of friendly(and not so friendly)discussions with neo-pagans, some of whom call themselves "witches," and claim to practice "witchcraft." I did not seek these people out, they happened to take employment at various places I was already working in the past. Perhaps that's the problem. Some of you can't possibly imagine someone taking this stuff to the next level. But believe me, people really do take this sort of thing very seriously. It's their religion. Subsequently there is the danger that a young child or teenager may actually seek out one of these deluded souls in hopes of becoming a disciple of the craft. So when I make the distinction between the "magic" of Narnia and Tolkien and that of the Potter books, this is the context. What is in the Potter books is not at all benign, but could mislead any child into the pursuit of adventures in a spiritual darkness from which they may not emerge unscathed. The devil is real. Even if Harry Potter isn't. And there is a demonic power that can enslave persons, just as Edmund was enslaved by the Turkish Delight. In fact, I would draw a strict parallel between the Turkish Delight and the Potter stories. The more you eat the more you want. Everyone is clamouring for more Harry Potter. Some people are downright obsessed with the stuff. Back when I was with AOL(in the 90's), the member created chat rooms were litereally deluged with titles referring to Hogwarts and Rowling's fiction. It's almost cultish. Perhaps you are not as alarmed by the popularity of Harry Potter because you have not seen enough of its "fruits." And the fruit is very bad, I assure you.

You are making arbitrary criteria and distinctions that you only apply to HP and exempt all other fiction and specifically fantasy books that you like. It is one thing to say you don't like it because you can't start in the middle of a series (which I doubt you could pick of the Two Towers and understand what is going on) or you don't like the writing style. It is another to say it is dangerous or to second guess parents' evaluation of their kids ability to handle the material.

No, I am not. There is a very real distinction between Tolkien's and C.S Lewis's works and that of Rowling. I will have to elaborate upon this in greater detail in a future post, as this one is already getting quite long. The writing style has nothing to do with it. Rowling's magic has no Christian parallel. The "magic" of Lewis and that of Tolkien belongs to someone else, a higher power, a historical figure. The ring, for example, never belongs to Frodo, though he is given the task of holding it. In fact, not only does this "magic" not belong to Frodo, but his very mission is to destroy it. What Harry and his friends do is aquire the magic in order to empower themselves. There is much more of a contrast between the two that I could refer to and will in a later post. It takes time to think these things out and unfortunately I seem to have fallen in with a pack of Harry Potter fanatics and there really isn't anyone else backing me up here. So, being the minority(not in life, nor in the church, but here on this particular message board and this particular thread, keep in mind), I am limited as to how many posts I can really respond to with any degree of depth.
Bear with me. I've got lots to say, just not enough time to say it. Furthermore, I really enjoy being challenged because it's the best way to learn. However, my true motivation is love, because I believe that the Potter books are dangerous and that the danger needs to be exposed. Hopefully the continuing discussion here will help us to do exactly that.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
. What is in the Potter books is not at all benign, but could mislead any child into the pursuit of adventures in a spiritual darkness from which they may not emerge unscathed. The devil is real. Even if Harry Potter isn't.

[/quote]

No place in Harry Potter does anyone seek out Satan / Demonic Power. NOT even the bad guys.

Perhaps you are not as alarmed by the popularity of Harry Potter because you have not seen enough of its "fruits." And the fruit is very bad, I assure you.

You have been asked, as has Mrs Kuby at el, to produce the evidential links - :shrug:

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
What is in the Potter books is not at all benign, but could mislead any child into the pursuit of adventures in a spiritual darkness from which they may not emerge unscathed. The devil is real. Even if Harry Potter isn't.

[/quote]

The problem is your entire argument rests on the very assumption that fantasy magic is equal to real magic. Any child, with just a decent amount of education, can tell that difference. I did. Others did. See once that difference has been established it is impossible to rule Harry Potter as a cause for someone to change religions.You give children too little credit.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
Everyone is clamouring for more Harry Potter. Some people are downright obsessed with the stuff. Back when I was with AOL(in the 90's), the member created chat rooms were litereally deluged with titles referring to Hogwarts and Rowling's fiction. It's almost cultish. Perhaps you are not as alarmed by the popularity of Harry Potter because you have not seen enough of its "fruits." And the fruit is very bad, I assure you.

[/quote]

Star Trek, Pokemon, and even Lord of the Rings are no longer safe. Heck, even EWTN and Christianity itself (with such a large following of believers) is not safe. Having so many fans and consumers is baaaaad. :rolleyes:

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
Rowling's magic has no Christian parallel.

[/quote]

And why should there be? Does a work's cosmology have to have deliberate Christian parallels to be good enough for you?

Rubbish.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
The "magic" of Lewis and that of Tolkien belongs to someone else, a higher power, a historical figure.

[/quote]

Wrong. Susan's horn is magic. Aragorn has been shown capable of using the Palantir. Furthermore, I wouldn't exactly call the likes of Gandalf as a 'higher power' granted that Saruman was just like him yet still fell.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
However, my true motivation is love, because I believe that the Potter books are dangerous and that the danger needs to be exposed. Hopefully the continuing discussion here will help us to do exactly that.

[/quote]

Nothing more pitiful than one who promotes foolishness with the best intentions. To think only liberals were like this.

[quote="Theophilus777, post:17, topic:249225"]
Perhaps you are not as alarmed by the popularity of Harry Potter because you have not seen enough of its "fruits." And the fruit is very bad, I assure you.

.

[/quote]

I teach upper elementary. We have a reading program called Accelerated Reader. I am sure many of you with children are familiar with this program. For those who are not familiar, it is a program whereby children read books within or above their reading level (which has been determined by the Star Reading test by the same company), then take a quick online quiz. The program is a good way for the teacher to keep track of how many books children are reading, how they are comprehending what they are reading, and if they are challenging themselves by reading higher level books.

Anyway....many, many of my students (10-12 year old) read various HP books in these grades and take the tests. Most comprehend very well, often passing with perfect scores. About half of the students go on the Catholic high school, and the other half to the local public high school. I have not heard of 1 student in all my years of involvement at this school (nearly 15 years of involvement) getting involved in witchcraft.

A few have been caught drinking. 2 had babies while seniors in high school. The vast majority are very good students, often honor roll students (we keep track for marketing purposes), offering athletic, arts, and volunteer talents. None are witches.

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