Thursday, January 04, 2007

Harry Potter books

An anonymous blogger recently asked, “What about Harry Potter books?” in a comment under my post on “Horoscopes and magic” (Nov. 14). The Church has not made an official statement about the Harry Potter books that I have seen, and probably won’t. But, there have been many personal opinions given on the incredibly popular series. I have listed some below. I have not read the Harry Potter books because they are based primarily in fantasy and magic. Personally, I like to deal with reality. The world of fantasy, while appearing fun and exciting, can be very dangerous and seductive.

Please keep in mind two things:
1) Harry Potter books are fictional.
2) The statements below are personal opinions

In a letter written in 2003, then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote the following to a German critic of Harry Potter:

“It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.”
"I like Harry Potter, a more pleasant escapism for me, but also much more superficial, predictable and sentimental than Tolkien's world... The Harry Potter series are brilliantly written children's books, which many adults enjoy."
- Archbishop Pell of Sydney
"There's only one reason the Harry Potter books are in the least bit controversial. Just one. Wicca. That's it. If we didn't have this ridiculous little 'religion' bustling around, forming 'covens' in dorm rooms and getting army chaplains, I doubt one parent in a million would even think to waste even a minute being concerned about these books. . . .
- Amy Welborn, Catholic author of “Sorting Through Harry Potter
"I was not impressed by the four books in Rowling's series…The Potter series takes the old Gnostic worldview and makes it look glamorous and exciting, in a way proving to be far more seductive and successful than similar books in this field of children's literature. Early Gnosticism was a combination of cult and heresy that came very close to undermining Christianity during the first few centuries of the Church. It was only defeated by the efforts of the Church Fathers as they taught, corrected, exhorted and debated with the naive devotees of this perversion of genuine faith. And here it is again, popping up with unprecedented force, but now aimed at the most vulnerable, most impressionable part of the Body of Christ - our children."
- Michael O'Brien…. the author of eleven books, including several best-selling Catholic novels, notably, Father Elijah. He has authored children's books as well...

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