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Harry Potter is harmless?

I’m not a big book reader, but I’ve always had reservations about the Harry Potter series.  With the last Harry Potter book coming out today, I found an article that would be interesting to debate, especially against a recent Florida Catholic article about the good in Harry Potter.

Deathly Hollows bookVatican’s Chief Exorcist Repeats Condemnation of Harry Potter Novels

By John-Henry Westen

ROME, March 1, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, is reported to have repeated his condemnations of the Harry Potter novels yesterday.  According to press reports, Fr. Amorth, said of the books, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil. There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.”

“By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil,” he said.

The news will come as no surprise to LifeSiteNews.com readers who recall that Fr. Amorth made very similar remarks in 2002 which went misreported in the North American media, until LifeSiteNews.com clarified the matter. 

In a 2002 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Rev. Amorth said “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.” The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art”. He noted that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction “does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil.” (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/jan/02010202.html )

At the time, however, North American coverage of Rev. Amorth’s warnings about Potter significantly downplayed the warnings. The New York Times coverage by Melinda Henneberger, which was carried in Canada’s National Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and on Yahoo Daily News left out most of the information in the European coverage, only quoting Rev. Amorth as saying that “If children can see the movie with their parents, it’s not all bad.”

North America’s most prominent Harry Potter critic, Michael O’Brien, has told LifeSiteNews.com that the movie version has significantly cleaned up Harry’s image, making it far less troublesome than the books.

Another condemnation of Harry Potter coming from Rome was not widely reported until LifeSiteNews.com’s intervention.  When in 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger allowed his comments against the novels to be aired publicly, the news was reported in Europe, but not in America.  However, when in 2005 LifeSiteNews.com published Ratzinger’s letter concerning Potter online, the international media exploded with the news that the new Pope opposed Harry Potter. (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html )

Writing to Germany’s best known Potter critic Gabriele Kuby, the man who was to become Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “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.”

The original article can be found at http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06030104.html while a great forum discussion is at PhatMass at http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=70460

  1. catholickermit
    July 26, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    I found a blog by a Sr. Anne, a Daughter of St. Paul in Chicago, IL. Her blog post suggests that Harry Potter may be an Evangelizer, or at least a “Catechist’s assistant.”

    Check it out at http://romans8v29.blogspot.com/2007/07/harry-potter-evangelizer.html

  2. August 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Hey there.

    My three older children have all read Harry Potter. I cannot see that reading the books has had any bad effects on any of them.

  3. Trisha
    August 13, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Your article on Harry Potter is biased and one sided. If you think that Harry is so bad why does everyone love him so much? You must be someone who has never read a single book and just hung onto what someone else has said to make your point. There is a whole story about overcoming injustice, conquering personal struggle, and doing the right thing even when it is unpopular! But let’s just ignore all of that because there’s some magic involved huh? What about Lord of the Rings which has (as its main character) a wizard and was wrtitten by a Christian!! I don’t see anyone complaining. All of the fairy tales and important stories handed down through generations have some element of magic in them but I don’t see anyone banning them. But hey-no big deal Harry can handle the abuse. He’s used to it. You better post this.

  4. aptonthe503
    December 10, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I’m a 40 year old father of 3. My wife and I have always encouraged our children to read and we are both big readers as well as avid patrons of our local library. I’ve listened (mostly with mild disinterest) the arguments against the Harry Potter series, but neither of us bought into the “heathen” arguments. Honestly there are books available that are definitely NOT for children and though I hadn’t read the books yet, I doubted Harry Potter was one of them.

    Initially I resisted reading the Harry Potter series mostly because it was new and I didn’t want to get involved in a series where I’d have to wait a year before the next installment was published. But in 2005 I did give the first book a read and I found it quite entertaining. Through a job change my drive to work increased significantly and one way I used to help pass the time was to listen to books on tape.

    I found the first and subsequent books so entertaining I found myself listening to the tapes on almost any trip. Naturally many of those trips included my children and they’d listen to parts of the books too and as a result, their interest in Harry Potter also grew.

    I’ve now finished the series and quite honestly, I didn’t see anything in the books that denotes or implies anti christianity or anti Catholicism. The books are just another fantasy/fictional enterprise of good versus evil. The characters are well developed and have depth and indeed flaws similar to ourselves and as Trisha put it, struggled to overcome their personal fears and limitations and do the right thing even if it was unpopular.

    I think they are very good books and encourage anyone to read them.

  5. jbbe
    April 9, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I think that the harry potter books are just harmless and get children interested in reading

  6. October 29, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Harry potter is a book that is bullied by Christians. Millions of books have magic, and do you see much articles about that?!!! I WOULD LIKE TO KICK THOSE BULLIES HORSES.

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