Harry Potter: No Innocent Fun

Many have asked me my opinion about Harry Potter. There is, among good Catholics, a general unease about the series, but the sense of disquiet is very, very difficult to define. I am at a bit of a disadvantage to comment on any particulars of the books since I have not read any of them or seen the movies, nor do I intend to — I have an aversion to adolescent fads and not enough time to spend on questionable materials when there is so much excellent fare for the soul out there. I do, however, feel it is important to offer some guidance on this issue from a third person point of view because some things can be observed about the books without having read them.

First and foremost, all adolescent obsessions have the capacity to steep the vulnerable souls of these kids in imagery and language that strikes deeper than the sermons they may (or may not) hear on Sunday. Some people give Harry an unqualified "wonderful" rating too quickly because J.K. Rowling apparently is a very good writer, but the devotees of a sweeping force like this series tend to pass off the propaganda aspect of these books as harmless because they see it as "innocent" fantasy, and, in my opinion, this is dangerous. 4100 pages of word images about magic and the occult are not harmless, even if they fit the literary genre of "fantasy." Tolkein's Lord of the Rings Trilogy amounts to 1216 pages of beautiful imagery, but relatively few of the pages are about magic, let alone imbued with magic. Indeed, Tolkein's trilogy is a self-consciously mythical representation of reality in the light of the Christian faith, something Rowling can't claim. I find the "fantasy" comparisons of Tolkein and Harry Potter to be deeply flawed.

Fundamentally, Harry Potter indoctrinates young souls in the language and mechanics of the occult. The fact that the fake curses and hexes are not able to be reproduced because the "ingredients" are pure fantasy is beside the point. Curses are not pure fantasy. The fact that "curse" as such, and other elements of witchcraft, are presented in a glorified state throughout the Harry Potter series means that our kids' minds are being introduced to and imbued with occult imagery.

 Is indoctrination too strong a term? How about socialization? Should it not concern parents that Rowling only now, ten years after the introduction of the character Dumbledore, admitted that she intended this character to be "gay"? For goodness sake, this character is a father figure and a mentor in the books, and he falls in love with his evil arch-enemy! Rowling has said that her books were a "prolonged argument for tolerance" (Time, 10/20/07). Okay, so no indoctrination going on there, right?

The second dilemma for every Christian parent should be the perennial Halloween fest of negative imagination that these books generate. If Harry Potter is innocent fun, its literary spawn certainly are not. One trip to the Harry Potter section of a Borders bookstore (way before Halloween) gave me pause. Surrounding the Harry Potter rack in the children's section of the store and in the front display were other titles that should raise the hair on the back of any parent's neck. I recount just a few titles here: Dark Possession, The Wheel of Darkness, The Care and Feeding of Spirites [sic], The Night of the Soul Stealer, The Thief Queen's Daughter, Blade of Fire, Secrets of Dripping Fang, My Father's Dragon, The Dark Hills Divide, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Soul Eater, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Vampirates Tide of Terror, Nightmare Academy, Enter the Portal to Monster and Mayhem, Lyra's Oxford (authored by vicious anti-Catholic Phillip Pullman of "Golden Compass" and "His Dark Materials" fame)… and others.

337 million copies of occult imagery are being consumed by our youth in the Harry Potter series alone. The books may be good writing, but the writing is about something dark dressed up as something fun. That's a great way to get kids hooked on the occult.

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  • Guest

    I really appreciate that CE presents both sides of the Harry Potter debate.

  • Guest

    I'm glad you printed this on CE as I do believe we all need to be cautious about a "cultural phenomenon" of a rather sick culture. For more articles, check out:  http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/

  • Guest

    I did not read the books either and my thoughts parallel Fr. Euteneuer who pretty much hits the mark with his articles. Pray that one day he'll be a bishop.

    "Fundamentally, Harry Potter indoctrinates young souls in the language and mechanics of the occult. The fact that the fake curses and hexes are not able to be reproduced because the "ingredients" are pure fantasy is beside the point. Curses are not pure fantasy."

    Let's address the curses issue. Many on this site have said that the language is fake therefore of no consequences. How do these people know what is a fake or a real curse? They don't! unless they’re schooled in the language of the occult. They're relying on a deceitful author to make sure they're fake. Nobody would play those odds even at a carnival. Evil uses language to confuse, divide, deceive and affect its purpose. A mind that is just floating and fantasizing and thinking of fake curses will get a curse right just like a fisherman will eventually catch a fish. The profound contributing factor is that this fantasy fisherman is fishing in a stocked pond.

    Tell these young skulls full of mush to go play with matches, they'll be safer. 

  • Guest

    The devil can't always announce his prescence and intentions – he is too tricky and knows that we wouldn't welcome him.  Instead he mascarades as good and harmless, all the while stealing and endangering souls!  Very articulate article, thank you!

  • Guest

    Father, thank you for a thoughtful article.

    Harry Potter has not been invited to our home or bookshelves for the reasons you mentioned. Our many bookshelves are brimming with grand books and stories of high adventure from Twain, Shakespeare, Chaucer and many others, so there is no need for something that "may" or "may not" be healthy for the children's souls. I liken it to this: if someone offered my child a chocolate malted milkshake that was world-wide famous for being tasty but which "may" or "may not" be tainted with poison I would decline. I respect other's choices but we've taken the conservative route of "why risk it?" Plus, I just would feel so 'herd-like' buying into the hype. Maybe it's just my rebel (ha ha) personality, but we resisted the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles which were so popular in the early '90s as well, and the children don't seem any worse for the wear.

     God bless all Catholic parents as they discern what is best for their families, and thank you Father for the work you do at HLI!

  • Guest

    I am at a bit of a disadvantage to comment on this article, as I didn't have time to read it in its entirety, but I did notice two things about it: "I have not read any of [the books] or seen the movies, nor do I intend to…" and "Fundamentally, Harry Potter indoctrinates young souls in the language and mechanics of the occult."

    How does one surmise to explain the fundamental aspects of a series of books and movies that one has not read?

    Thoughtfully yours,

    a Catholic homeschooling mother of ten

  • Guest

    just wondering — Catholic Mom of 9 — are the Brother's Grimm welcome into your house ?

     

  • Guest

    Thank you for being a radiant light of Truth. Is a whole generation being prepped for the  antichrist? The world widespread popularity of this and other type literature, movies, etc. of the "beautiful evil" makes me pause, and pray. God help us, give us eyes to see, ears to hear and minds that clearly discern.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Father for the insightful article.  

    One of the advantages of being a homeschooling family is that we don't get caught up in these adolescent obsessions.  When the books came out along with the warnings from respectable Catholics, we just chose to avoid it altogether and have gone on with life.  I haven't read any of the books or seen the movies but, it is pretty clear that "Harry Potter" glorifies the occult.
     I am careful that my chidren are not exposed to movies, TV, music etc. that glorify sins against the 6th commandment: adultery, promiscuity, fornication. I choose to do the same with entertainment that glorifies (mortal) sins against the 1st commandment. "Thou shalt not have other gods before me."  
    There is so much other good things for our children to be exposed to.  How sad that people have spent countless hours waiting in line to purchase books and theatre tickets as well as the time spent reading and seeing the movies.  How much of that time could have been spent reading scripture or in Eucharistic adoration.  It's all a matter of priorities.
  • Guest

    I really have a problem with this belief that if you didn’t read something or experience it you can’t know if it’s good. What kind of nonsense is that? I don’t want to eat cow manure to experience it. The smell tells me it bad. I don’t need to walk into a mine field to know it’s a bad thing to do. I should read the warning signs. God gave us a very good brain that we can use to help us determine and perceive danger. I suggest we start to use it. It is very easy to do a little research into the author. If you read their comments you will begin to see what they are about. If they seem to be mysterious, then stay away. It ain’t rocket science to figure this stuff out. It should always be a very BIG warning flag that the popular culture likes something. Throughout history the majority is usually wrong. Noah was right the majority was wrong, Moses was right and the majority wrong, all the Prophets were right and the majority was wrong, Christ was put to death by a majority, Christ said the majority would not enter by the narrow gate, and a majority of the people put Hitler in power. The list is very long on the errors of the majority. That’s why we are compared to sheep!

  • Guest

    Guilty as charged of not personally taking in fire and getting burned. I'm arguing from the standpoint of principle and statistics. What are the odds of an inexperienced young fisherman catching a fish in a stocked pond? I also make comments, off the top of my head, about porn and I have not read or seen all that is out there. Heaven must be a beautiful place, would you not agree? Another inexperienced remark.

    Because our time is limited we must make judgments based on the comments and experience of others. I have not read The DaVinci Code. My daughter brought home the book on tape (CD) version of it. I enquired as to what my daughter was listening. She told me, and I told her to give it back to the nice lady whose daughter is also big on HP. I gave my cute "sponge" a nice lesson on the Church and those who are undermining it. I'm quite proud of myself as a narrow-minded, inexperienced father. 

  • Guest

    JoeLukowski-

    You wondered that since Harry Potter is not welcome in our home if we read the Brothers Grimm tales. That is a fair questionSmile

    Our children range in ages from 2 to 20. The youngest children would be bothered by some of the imagery in the orginal Grimm tales. (stepmother being burned at the stake in "Brother and Sister" and a wolf's stomach being cut open with a knife in "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids" and even the evil witch in "Snow White". I know this just from being their mother. So, no, the little ones don't get to hear Brothers Grimm at bedtime, and I think that is a good thing since dealing with nightmares is not one of my favorite parental duties. Smile

    Hansel and Gretel has never been a favorite here either. In fact, I stopped trying to read it to anyone after the first several kids, when my daughter (then 12ish who was in the room overhearing the storytelling )said, "That's just disturbing" in reference to the witch trying to shove the children into the oven to cook. That comment from her kind of jolted me into thinking maybe I was pushing something on them that they weren't ready for. Kids are scared enough of imaginary monsters and things that go BUMP in the night so I figured why introduce more scary things? For literary purpose? ("Kids, this is a classic. You are 'supposed' to be exposed to it") Not at age five or eight, I decided. 

    The more benign tales are welcome at an early age. "The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish" for example has a great moral and is entertaining. (By the way, ditto this mindset for Aesop's work, but that's another post)

    The children are welcome to read the Grimm tales themselves as they get older, in the context of it being historical and part of a German culture. I feel strongly that the context of literature  is so important to provide when introducing pieces because it is the background in which the piece is written and provides for better understanding of the author(s) and purpose.

    This leads me to ask about the context of Harry Potter. Is he the product of years of oral traditon, which would explain the mindset of a group of peoples during a particular time period? No. He's the figment of one woman's (very clever) imagination but can't possibly offer insight like Grimm can.

     Are Grimm's tales always based around magic and potions and chants? No. Elements of these things exist in some of the tales, but not all stories are based on these things. HP's entire schtick is magic and potions and spells. The stories revolve around these things. This is a critical difference to me. Grimm's tales are a collection of many works from multiple authors, and reflect that diversity. HP offers one woman's (fictional) world view.

    My college degree is in English. I remember reading Bruno Bettelheim (author of "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales")..He advocates traditional fairy tales from a psychoanalyitical standpoint and concludes that they are useful for providing children with safe stories which reflect the world around us and provide examples of definite good and definite evil. I do agree. I just don't see Harry as a traditional fairy tale.  (for one thing, not all his characters are one-dimensional, predictable and assignable to pure *good* or pure *evil* which is part of one definition of a fairy tale…but I digress….)

     "Is HP good to read?" or "Is he bad to read?" The mere fact we have to ask this question about Harry indicates he is confusing to us. If he is confusing to us as adults, how much more to children?  Some may say I'm overly scruplulous and I dont expect everyone to understand.But ultimately only my husband and I have to answer to God for the formation of our children and we following our consciences in choosing this path.  

  • Guest

    Is HP really a product of JKR's imagination?  I thought she said it came to her all of a piece once when she was riding a bus.

  • Guest

    Exactly! Why read book(s) that the story revolves around witchcraft ,occult, spells, curses, etc. and depends on it for good to triumph evil when there are much more riveting books out there such as books by CS Lewis, Michael O’Brien, Meriol Trevor, Louis de Wohl, Roger B. Thomas, Dorothy Sayers, Margot Benary-Isbert, Rebecca Caudill, etc.

  • Guest

    A very good article about a very controversial subject.  I have only one concern about the content of the article.  The article states that the incantations are "fake" while the author herself states otherwise.  I followed a link from a previous article on this website about Harry Potter and listened to an interview with the author on the Diane Rehm show.  If I understood J.K. Rowling correctly, she said that one third of the incantations she used in the books were from her research and were used by people in the past who said that they "worked".  Having taught teens at our parish as a volunteer for about fifteen years, I heard about several encounters that youth had with things satanic.  These children who had discovered satanic incantations and rituals by various means were quite frightened by their experiences.  This information is readily available to our children from their friends, in libraries, internet, etc.  Do we want to promote its use by our approval of books using "fake" spells when the real ones are so easily obtainable?  Might be difficult for a child to discern the difference.

  • Guest

    It saddens me to see that people of faith are taking this fantasy story to such a degree.  This is a wonderful story of good vs evil with emphasis on the power of family and friendship.  I believe that when we sensor our children and ourselves so deeply we rob ourselves of the beauty of literature and the chance to have good discussion about issues that our children will someday come into contact with.  I work with children in junior high, high school and also with  young adults in college – a really good way to give something credit is to use all of the hype that I hear in these emails.  In these tales we see multi dimensional characters who struggle with issues of good and evil – just like we do.  I think that if your children desire to read them it would be best to have this as a family project.  I personally read them aloud to my children and we had a delightful time with imagination – great discussion and often times we would refer to scripture to reenforce our deep Christian values. 

  • Guest

    Wendy,

    How do/did you explain to your children the good in the very fact that it is witchcraft, occult, spells, curses, potions, etc. that triumphs over evil?

  • Guest

     excellent article. I featured it on my blog.

     

    Christine 

     

    http://www.christineschult.com

  • Guest

    Catholic Mom of 9—thanks for taking the time to answer Joe's question!  I learned something from your post–

     

    Jesus, I trust in You!

     

     

  • Guest

    on a journey–

    You're very welcomeSmile

  • Guest

    I am very glad to see that Catholic Exchange has printed this article.  I, myself, am glad that we decided to ignore the whole Harry Potter phenomenon from the beginning.  We decided that there were so many wonderful books for our children to read that we would just bypass anything questionable.  I know members of my homeschooling group who made a different choice and that's fine for them.  However, I have noticed that the declaration by Rowling that Dumbledore is homosexual has added a new dimension to this debate and reinforces my original decision.  I trust Fr. Euteneuer and respect his opinion.

  • Guest

    To be completely honest, I can see both sides of the "arguement".  Growing up, I read a lot of sci/fi and fantasy books, as well as (what would be considered today) horror.  I even listened to A LOT of heavy metal and hard rock music.  Luckily for me, I had loving parents and a solid Catholic faith.  That's not to say that I didn't have my moments of wanting to dabble in magic, or become a vampire.  Seriously.  But God was always there to snatch me back to Him.

     

    The problem is that many if not most of these children don't have that foundation or that relationship with their families or God.  They are at risk delving into "fantasy" – because their handle on reality is too tenuous.

     

    I don't have to read or see something to know what it is all about.  That's flaacious thinking.  I have not seen any of the Saw movies, or child pornography, but I know that they are not good.  Let's toss that arguement out.

     

    Harry Potter, while possibly "a good read", is not uplifiting.  There are plenty of other things for your homeschooled child to read.  Why Harry Potter?  Choose more wisely.  Your childrens' souls depend on it.  I know my children will not be reading the series.  I owe them that.

  • Guest

    As a parent of four children and a catechist, I must reply to the Potter article.  Last night, out of 18 seventh graders in my PSR class, only two could remember any homily that they had ever heard.  Both of the homilies recalled involved a visual object.   Frankly, it is a challenge to inspire the kids to follow Gospel values when the homilist, 9 time out of ten, either does not really believe the Gospel or makes it so boring that I am convinced he has consumed embalming fluid before mass.  Sure, Harry Potter is enticing to kids.  The fact is that kids have a less obfuscated window  to the spiritual plane, and thus are interested in the stories.

    Sadly, the Gospel is taught as a burden, and Potter makes for great competition.  The kids are always willing to learn about angels and miracles, but the message is rarely made exciting or real. 

  • Guest

    You're the parent of a catechist?

  • Guest

    The late Great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said something to effect: Just like what you eat has an effect on your physical body, so does what we see, read, and take into our mind has an effect on what you think. Garbage in garbage out. We can not be open to everything. Adam and Eve tried to experience what they should not have because our Lord warned them. We must have humility to admit that we are not strong enough to dialogue with evil. Run from it! St. Paul also told us to embrace all that is beautiful, good, kind, … Harry Potter lacks all of these things. Ave Maria!

  • Guest

    Catholic mom of nine,

    You, my dear lady, are a gem. I have children ranging in age from college down through diapers. I have only recently returned to the faith of my youth, therefore, my children are imbedded in the world. We have started reading the Bible and I don't think the catechism is going to appeal to them just yet.

    Would you be so kind as to suggest reading material for my 20 year old college daughter who knows it all, as well as my fourteen year old who would rather have pins stuck in his eyes than read? He is a sports lover and she is an avid reader of fiction, mystery and romance. Even if you can't, I loved the post{I've read everything being discussed and I can only say that I believe I would be none the worse for ware if I hadn't} 

    In Christ, 

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Father,

     

    I think your concerns about spells and witchcraft are unfounded and falsely alarming.  These books are fun for all ages.  They are entertaining fantasy, much better than prime time TV. And yes Father, the language and imagery strikes deeper than most sermons, especially for children because they are well written books.  Children visualize the struggle between and evil, and if our parents have done their job, our children pull for the good guys.

     

    It is funny, don’t you think, that an accomplished writer was unable to relate through seven books that one of her main characters was gay.  No one who read the books could make that connection.  She had to explain it long after the last book was published.  Her “coming out” is inconsequential. 

    We should teach our children to have the courage to overcome their fear and use their gifts to help good conquer evil, Like Harry, Hermione and Ron.  Do not be afraid!

  • Guest

    David T. Garrison,

    You are kind.

    Welcome back to the 'faith of your youth'.

    And I should tell you that my 20 year old knows it all too so I feel your pain. Smile

    You mentioned your daughter likes mystery and romance (sounds like a good combo for eventual marriage, don't you think?) . You might tuck Carmen Marcoux's "Surrender" or "Arms of Love" into her Christmas stocking. Both books are written in a way that young women are almost sure to enjoy, and there is the underlining theme of true beauty of purity and goodness. Another appealing author duo is Jason and Chrystalina Everet, a young (early 30s)married team. His book (although non-fiction)  is "Pure Love" and "If you really Loved Me". I have yet to come across a 20 year old who isn't interested in the topic he addresses in this book. There is so much out there, why don't you make a trip to the Catholic bookstore with her and treat her to whatever suits her fancy? I've also yet to meet a 20 year old not interested in a freebie. Smile

     As for the 14 year old, is it a matter of reading skill or subject matter? I had some trouble finding adventurous enough material for my older two boys. You might try a biography of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. I think it might appeal to him. He was young, good-looking athletic (avid mountain climber)and modern. Most biographies of him that I have seen include good photographs. Maybe you could read it together.  Or, you could take him to the Catholic bookstore and help him select something–sort of a 'guys night out'. Cap it off with a cheeseburger and I think you're on to something! 

    God bless you.

  • Guest

    Catholic Mom of 9–can I add a few suggestions?  For the 20 year old–anything from Michael O'Brien.  Well written and engaging–apocolyptic themes which are very popular these days.

     

    For the 14-year-old-boy–okay, it's not a book, it's a video–Champions of Faith.  My boys have watched their heros time and again talk about their Catholic faith and what it means to them on and off the field.  It has helped ME as a mom of sports lovers connect to my sons. 

     

    I too recomend the Pier Giorgio Frassati book.  And although I have not read any of his work, George MacDonald has been noted (by author Michael O'Brien) for writing great sci-fi. 

     

    Just some ideas.  And I'd welcome any more you might have C M of 9!

     

    Jesus, I trust in You!

  • Guest

    CM of 9 and journey, thanks for the responses. 

    CM your assessments of 20 year olds{she happens to be in college} is right on. Freebie's are always welcomed. I will take her to the Marian Shrine bookstore when she comes home for Thanksgiving, but I will also provide the stocking stuffer.

    As for the fourteen year old, I would have to say that I would like something that may make him more interested in reading. For him it is a chore rather than a portal{I can use that word, right ;} to unending knowledge and wisdom. As a youngster myself, I needed to be captured in the opening pages or the book would collect dust.

    I watched Champions of Faith with him and while I cried when the coach for the Marlins described the events surrounding the loss of his daughter, my son was as stoic and cool as a teenager in this world is supposed to be. Don't get me wrong, he is a loving boy as is evidenced by his relationship with his siblings, but he wouldn't open up about how he felt.

    I don't know…Anywho, thanks for the suggestions. 

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    As for the marriage, please pray for her that she grow in wisdom and accept the teachings of the Church so that she will be more ready to accept the graces that come from a Catholic courtship and sacremental marriage.

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    To Kevin G –

    It is really imprtant to realize that the Harry Potter books are NOT merely "entertaining fantasy." As I posted in response to another CE article about HP, Jo Rowling herself has stated that some of the spells she included in the books are authentic spells. Here is the quote:

    "I do do a certain amount of research, and folklore is quite important in the books. So where I’m mentioning … a spell that people used to believe genuinely worked … then I will find out exactly what the words were." http://wamu.org/programs/dr/99/10/20.php#13962

    I have long found it disturbing that back in 1999, before the controversy regarding her books had blossomed, J. K. Rowling was willing to admit to using actual spells. I have combed the internet for subsequent admissions, but can find none. Instead, she is firm in her insistance that she does not believe in magic. Since she doesn't, she would of course ridicule the idea that there is any danger from the spells she has included in the books. My own conclusion is that once she was criticized for writing books about witchcraft, she was careful not to mention her research again.

    By the way, I have read the first two books, and I found them most distressful. I attempted to read the third, but could not get past the opening scene in which Harry used witchcraft to gleefully punish a relative. The first two books, reportedly the mildest, contained tales of a ghost living in a toilet and a child vomiting up slugs. I could barely read these passages myself. Thus I am befuddled when parents find these tales to be appropriate fare for any child.

    Whether we like the Harry Potter books or not, let us all join in prayer that no child be led into the occult from reading them.

  • Guest

    Re: Catholic homeschooling mother of ten (aka dknowak)‘s post:

    "How does one surmise to explain the fundamental aspects of a series of books and movies that one has not read?"

    First, congratulations on your homeschooling.  We did only three and I cannot say it was easy. 

    As to your question. 

    You will see above this post several replying to your question, but without clearly identifying your post as the object of their responses. 
    I tend to agree with what was posted in those responses although I do not necessarily agree with all the imagery used. 
    We often reason from accidentals surrounding phenomena. 

    In the case of the Harry Potter stories, there were numerous reviews, there were advertisements, & if one attended a theatre during its heyday, there would likely have been a clip. 

    We do not have a television in our house and we rarely attend the movie theatre. 
    Despite this paucity of avenues into our inner sanctum, I have a distinct recollection of seeing a Harry Potter clip.  I don’t remember where, but the menace in the scene was clear. 

    There are a number of books I myself have not read and yet I still know about their overall tenor.  For example: Crime and Punishment; War and Peace; St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.  As a homeschooler, I feel confident that you understand how this can be so. 

    Regards,
    Old Sigma (Cradle Catholic [Latin rite] & generally inveterate amateur)
  • Guest

    Ave Maria!

     

    Thanks to Fr. Euteneuer for his words.  Also another thing in these books is that the end justifies the means.

     

    I  have been against them for the occult and so forth that is in them but this is just one more thing. Oh, and now a main character is 'gay' so we have that little time bomb too.

     

    The extreme defending of these books has been most interesting. And often by wonderful Catholics.  But we do not know the evil of the seemingly innocuous things presented to us as candy.

  • Guest

    Hmmm, if there has been extremism in this area, it seems to have come much more from the people opposed to the books wielding condemnations of those who chose to read them.

  • Guest

    I've read the first four or five. I can't remember where I left off, but I know why I did. The books, for the most part, were a very good read and grabbed a hold of me in the first few pages. I actually read the second book first because it was laying on a table in my sisters house and I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. Upon completion and being informed that I had missed the first one[probably why some of the characters were hard to follow], I read the first and so on. I don't believe the Order of the Phoenix was very good, but one of them wasn't as quite intriguing.

    As to why I stopped, it was because I became interested in a greater story. The fact is that any fiction is an escape from reality. While many times there are parallels to the real world, and timeless battles of good vs evil, truth be told, they fall short of just that facet, the whole truth.

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    The questioning of sound parental judgement is not a condemnation, mkochan. Allow me a variation on a quote from the late Barry Goldwater: "Extremism in defense of liberty (substitute the faith) is no vice". Thanks for running the article even though you expected this kind of response.

  • Guest

    Fr. Tom:

    Thank you again for taking the no-nonsense lead on a critical issue that effects us all.  After the Sean Hannity "showdown" and the Connecticut Catholic Capitulation (CCC) there are many of us in the trenches who are inspired to see a living witness of a LIGHT that shines, the TRUTH of our faith in the battle that we are waging for hearts, minds and SOULS.

    A few days ago I received another monthly newsletter from Michael O'Brien, (author of Fr. Elijah) and he too was quick to denounce the "Golden Compass" as another Potter knockoff that is polluting the minds of youth and padding the pockets of many anti-Catholic forces in the world. 

    http://studiobrien.com/site/index.php

    Imitate Mary, Become like Jesus, Live for the Triune God

  • Guest

    Hello Mike—so good to find another Michael O'Brien fan.  Have you read his book A Landscape with Dragons:  The Battle for your Childs Mind?

    The most recent printing includes an extensive Recommended Family Reading list. 

     Have you read A Cry of Stone?  Next to Fr. Elijah, his best in my opinion.

     

    Jesus, I Trust in You!

  • Guest

    I've read the Potter books, and I have to say they aren't as good as Tolkein or Lewis, but they aren't nearly as disturbing as what's coming down the pike, the Philip Pullman trilogy, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.  These books are not merely questionable, they are insidious, and virulently anti-Christian and specifically anti-Catholic(he maligns the papacy, the Magisterium, the councils, bishops, priests, nuns, our sacraments, especially penance, all by name.  Every evil person and evil deed is from "the Church" and by the vocabulary and structure, he clearly means ours.  Having just finished them, I can honestly tell you these books are poison, and that's before you include the not-so-subtle moral problems, too.  With the release of the movie imminent, many libraries are ordering extra copies of the books and assembling "book club kits" so kids can read and discuss them.  Tell your friends, your homeschool group, your school library, your public library, that these are not appropriate books for ANY child, and be sure to point out that if these books attacked any other religious group or social minority, they wouldn't be tolerated.

    We know to whom the victory belongs, but he still expects us to fight the battles before us.

  • Guest

    I agree with Kevin G.  There are times when a story doesn't interest us or is clearly against faith–like the Da Vinci Code–making it understandable to avoid it entirely.  It's inappropriate, however, to promote or denounce a story while ignorant of its content.

    Those who say "Harry Potter's just a fantasy" are, by and large, not trying to make allowances for fantasy promotion of the occult.  There are other stories that promote the occult in and of itself as good, and those should be avoided.  But I'm up to Book 4 of the Potter series, and the only magic these books call good is the kind that makes windows or dishes wash themselves–not real-life occult practices.  It's different from, say, horoscopes or tea leaf readings, which it actually puts down.

    Of course, I'm saddened by the after-the-fact outing of Dumbledore because it played right into the minds of sexually confused teen fans; heck, it made them cheer!  In that case, Rowling seriously abused the positive influence she could have had over her readers.  Harry Potter is also a series steeped in mistrusting authority and disobeying it.  But we shouldn't be too hasty and assume that the use of magic in these books promotes the occult, since it does not.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the heads up!  I saw the trailers for these, and they've made a point of keeping the anti-religious aspect well hidden.  Maybe they're realizing that families might think twice of taking their kids to see a film that bashes their religion.

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