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Vatican's Chief Exorcist Repeats Condemnation Of Harry Potter Nove


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[quote name='Terra Firma' post='1332589' date='Jul 17 2007, 03:08 PM']This I would agree with. They are not children's books, at least not the more recent ones.

Read the Velveteen Rabbit instead.[/quote]
I so loved the Velveteen Rabbit when I was a child. You have made me cry. :sadder:

I'm good now...back to my usual face... <_<

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[quote]As well as the two holy men, Pope Benedict XVI (Card. Ratzinger) and Fr. Amorth who's holy offices the Holy Spirit can and do speak through, and who's judgments are that the Harry Potter Books are either satanic or of the occult, which is pretty much the same.[/quote]

I like this quote above. It rings so true KOC.

You know it's funny and disturbing to find people in this thread that do not agree with the Holy Father and one of his high ranking experienced officials because they share personal opinions and interpretations. On the other hand, these same people agree with the Holy Father and certain high ranking experienced officials when it comes to dogma and doctrine and put aside their personal opinions. I wonder when these same people will interpret scripture with their personal opinions and interpretation. These people say, "Oh yes Holy Father you're qualified and correct on this topic and I am Catholic and I will believe your judgment." And then they turn around and say, "Oh no Holy Father, you're not qualified and correct on this topic because they do not coincide with my personal opinions, though I am Catholic, I will not accept your judgment." These people say, "There are some days, Holy Father, that I believe you are guided by the Holy Spirit, but there are some days, Holy Father, that you are not."

As an artist and a writer myself, I believe it is irresponsible not to have a grasp of what type of message you will be sending out to the public, especially to children. A great artist can express a message in conjunction with a great, crafted story. Some author writes "Do not tell lies" in their book and does not expect for that to be a moral message and is not consciously aware of that? Come on!

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[quote name='Kirisutodo333' post='1333550' date='Jul 18 2007, 03:46 PM']I wonder when these same people will interpret scripture with their personal opinions and interpretation. These people say, "Oh yes Holy Father you're qualified and correct on this topic and I am Catholic and I will believe your judgment." And then they turn around and say, "Oh no Holy Father, you're not qualified and correct on this topic because they do not coincide with my personal opinions, though I am Catholic, I will not accept your judgment." These people say, "There are some days, Holy Father, that I believe you are guided by the Holy Spirit, but there are some days, Holy Father, that you are not."[/quote]

This is exactly the personal attacks that I get really sick of hearing. There is a HUGE difference between personal opinion and proclaimed doctrine. It's not a matter of the Holy Father not being "qualified" to make a public pronouncement against these books, but the fact is he hasn't.

Fr. Amorth has mad a public statement against them, but likewise his statement is not binding on anyone to believe. To imply that it is binding is false.

Please stop your personal attacks, they're not helping your argument.

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[quote name='morostheos' post='1333600' date='Jul 18 2007, 11:34 AM']This is exactly the personal attacks that I get really sick of hearing. There is a HUGE difference between personal opinion and proclaimed doctrine. It's not a matter of the Holy Father not being "qualified" to make a public pronouncement against these books, but the fact is he hasn't.

Fr. Amorth has mad a public statement against them, but likewise his statement is not binding on anyone to believe. To imply that it is binding is false.

Please stop your personal attacks, they're not helping your argument.[/quote]

You get sick of hearing it because it rings so true. So I'll say it again.

What of Church teaching? What does the Catholic Church feel about the HP books? Is it good? Is it not? Is the Church for or against the books?

Let's just take HP as one of the various Church teachings that we do not accept. Hoorray!

Here is an excerpt of one of the many great articles on HP's moral cloudiness and the Church's teachings. Hopefully, this will teach some about the moral cloudiness in the books, not so one cannot read them, but so one can read them carefully and with discretion, especially to their kids.
[quote]The Church’s Warning
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states unequivocally: “All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others — even if this were for the sake of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. … The Church for her part warns the faithful against it” (2117).

This is strong language in the catechism, the same language used to condemn lust, fornication, and abortion. Catholics cannot in good conscience take such a warning lightly. If Harry were using lust, fornication, or abortion to save his friends at Hogwarts, would we still think these books were acceptable children’s fare?

[b]It’s important to note that the witchcraft about which Rowling writes stands in stark contrast to fantasy magic as it’s portrayed in Tolkien and Lewis. The good characters in Middle Earth and Narnia don’t cast spells on people, don’t call up spirits and commune with them like beloved neighbors, don’t perform rituals, and don’t mix potions. The good characters at Hogwarts do.

In Narnia, a ring transports you to another world, and in Middle Earth lightning flashes at a critical time to perform some powerful feat. But at Hogwarts, the evil Voldemort enchants a diary to take possession of a girl’s soul. These are vast and substantial differences, requiring us to view Rowling’s witchcraft in a much different light from Tolkien’s and Lewis’s magic.[/b]

Bad Role Models
What about the argument that the Potter books help to teach the difference between right and wrong? Putting witchcraft aside, it’s true there are definite “bad guys” in the books, and that they are consistently fought by the “good guys.” But I found those “good guys” to be less-than-stellar role models.

At first glance, Harry Potter seems a noble little boy, one who will put his own life at risk to save his friends. He defends the weak, comforts the sad, and fights evil. [b]But I found he also had a nasty propensity to flaunt school rules and to lie.[/b]

[b]In fact, at the end of the first book, Harry saves the world from the evil Lord Voldemort by screwing up his courage and telling a lie. Now, telling a lie to save the world may at first seem to be acceptable, but we have to remember that this is a work of fiction, and the author could have easily found a truthful way for Harry to save the world.[/b] A close reading of the second book shows that lying now comes much more easily to Harry than it did in the first book, so we see Harry’s character growing weaker rather than stronger.

I’m also concerned about the way Harry is allowed to avoid proper discipline. He’s famous, he’s talented, and he’s a celebrity. Time after time in both the first two books, when Harry breaks school rules, he is either clever enough to get away with it or he’s a skillful-enough liar not to be chastised.

Repeatedly threatened with expulsion, he is always forgiven. In the worst case of all, he’s threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts if he flies on his broomstick. But when he in fact does, and does so with great talent, he’s actually rewarded with a prime spot on the school Quidditch team.

Much like some American college football heroes, he receives not a lick of punishment precisely because he’s such a great athlete. Even the points that Harry and his friends lose for their schoolhouse during the course of the first book are handed back to them with bonuses at the end, and enough so that their house wins the coveted school cup. What’s the overall message?[b] If you’re cute enough, talented enough, strong enough, or clever enough, you don’t have to worry about following the rules in your little corner of the universe. This is hardly teaching the difference between right and wrong.[/b]

Disturbing Religious Elements
I further noticed some disturbing religious elements in the books — an apparent twisting of Catholic terminology, symbolism, and even theology. Whether or not all the instances of such twisting were intentional, the dangerous confusion resulting in the minds of young readers remains the same.

Picture this. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, pages 51-52, Harry is hidden in a shop that sells paraphernalia of the Dark Arts. He sees a customer express interest in a withered hand sitting on a cushion. Turns out it’s called the “Hand of Glory,” and it’s considered the “best friend” of thieves and plunderers.

[b]Wait a minute. “Glory” is a term of worship used by angels and humans alike. Why is it being used to describe the favorite tool of robbers?[/b]

Later, when attending a “deathday party” for ghosts, Harry and his friends notice “a group of gloomy nuns . . . and the fat friar” (p. 132). This was a dark and dreary party of obviously tortured souls, and the friar and the nuns could have easily been left out. [b]Did Rowling think this was cute or did she mean to give insult?[/b]

Blink and you’d miss it, but in two short paragraphs of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling twists and perverts the meaning of a word of tremendous significance to Catholics. The word is “transfiguration,” which should call to every Catholic child’s mind the glorification of our Lord on the mountaintop with Moses and Elijah. [b]Instead, Rowling uses the word to mean “some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn”: that of changing one object into another (p. 134).[/b]

Having thus assigned “transfiguration” a decidedly un-Christian meaning in the first book, she peppers the second book with numerous references to the subject. My heart breaks when I think of how many children will forever more listen to the Gospel reading [b]about the Transfiguration, and will find their minds drawn to the Hogwarts School [/b]of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The book of Revelation is arguably the least understood book of the Bible, but the significance of one element in it is generally agreed upon: [b]The number “666” is the diabolical number of the beast (see Rev 13:18), and it’s not a good thing. Yet J. K. Rowling has chosen to use this number as significant for one of the most unselfish and noble of her characters, Mr. Nicolas Flamel.[/b]

Always portrayed as a good character, at the end of the first book he is raised to heights of actual heroism when he decides to lose his life for the sake of the world. We the readers are introduced to Flamel when Harry and his friends read Flamel’s biography on page 220. [b]Figuring prominently in this biography is the fact that last year Mr. Flamel celebrated his six hundred and sixty-fifth birthday. That means that the year in which his biography was written, the year in which he is immortalized for all of us, Mr. Flamel is in the 666th year of his life. [/b]The symbol of the beast for Christians is the age of the savior of humanity for Hogwarts.

Rowling then presents a perversion of Catholic theology when a unicorn is killed just before the climax of the first book. “The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price,” writes Rowling on page 258. Drinking blood will keep us alive?

When I first read this, I wondered if we were about to see a Catholic metaphor that might redeem the entire book. The next phrase kept my hope alive, “You have slain something pure and senseless to save yourself. . . .” Yes, I thought, we are about to see a Eucharistic analogy, but then my eyes traveled to the next line on the page: [b]“You will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.”

I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach.[/b] It isn’t the crime of killing the pure and defenseless unicorn that curses, [b]but the act of drinking its blood.[/b] [b]What a horrendous twisting of the biblical promise that drinking the blood of Jesus, who is the purest of the pure, will bring us eternal life.[/b] The antithetical notion that a pure creature’s blood will bring us “a half-life, a cursed life” is a slap in the face of Catholics.[/quote]


Again, LOTR and Narnia it is NOT.

May God bless you all, even J.K. Rowling.

You can find the full article here. [url="http://www.envoymagazine.com/harrypotter.htm"]Link to Full Article[/url]

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Pope Benedict XVI (Card. Ratzinger) and Fr. Amorth would seemly be teaching from the matter of faith and morals, and not "their opinion". Since they state what they believe to be facts, and not what could be....

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From the Pope's new book, "Jesus of Nazareth":

[quote]It goes without saying that this book is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search "for the face of the Lord" (cf. Ps 27:8). [b]Everyone is free, then, to contradict me.[/b] I would only ask my readers for that initial goodwill without which there can be no understanding.[/quote]
I have never read a single Harry Potter book. I have only seen the first movie, and don't really care to see anymore. I have no idea who the characters are, what the plots are, so I have no informed opinion either way on the books themselves.

However, the more general issue at stake here is that the Pope is not an autocrat. He makes this very clear in his book, where he separates his personal opinions from his Magisterium, and says that everyone is free to contradict his personal opinions. If he expressed an opinion about Harry Potter (and before he was even Pope), no Catholic is bound to agree with him, or with Fr. Amorthe. There is much room for disagreement among Catholics about different matters that are not directly connected with the faith, such as literature.

I haven't followed this thread, so this is not directed at anyone in particular, but please everyone respect legitimate disagreements among Catholics, and do not impose more than the Church herself does. Argue your opinion, and let others argue theirs.

[quote]As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline - in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See - there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

--Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Letter "Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum"[/quote]

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The quote from Pope Benedict XVI could be seen as taken out of context, he is referring to his book, not necessarily other books.

As for the encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XV, it would seem we are only free when there is no "harm to faith", or when there is a absence of any authoritative intervention.

[quote]As regards matters in which [b]without harm to faith[/b] or discipline[/quote]

The thing is Pope then Card. Ratzinger is quoted as saying "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are [b]subtle seductions[/b], which act unnoticed and by this [b]deeply distort [/b]Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." As well reffing to Potter as part of the occult. Fr. Amorthe says the books are satanic. Subtle seductions, deeply distort christianity, and occultism and satanic elements would very much seem to harm faith, or deeply distort it.

Edited by KnightofChrist
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[quote name='saint_wannabe' post='1330102' date='Jul 15 2007, 09:34 PM']but this is the chief exorcist of the Vatican who is against it, and this isnt some average dude he has exorcised over 50,000 demons he knows a thing or too about evil
and also even the pope Benedict is against these book. i still dont understand why you guys are for it.[/quote]

I agree. We need to take that into consideration.

[quote name='Kirisutodo333' post='1330872' date='Jul 16 2007, 12:53 PM']And also let's not forget that Tolkien and Lewis were two intense, religious and devout Christians and that they spoke of Christianity's hope and redeeming nature through their stories. Their works were sub-creations that touched upon the true myth of Christianity. And to agree, Harry Potter and the supposedly good characters in the books do not have that essential "high" goodness that is needed to battle or contrast the dark and evil characters. Harry and them do not make the best possible moral choices and that is a great flaw. Now, they are of course allowed to make bad moral choices but always with a redemption that follows those exact choices.

But it seems that Harry tends to make very clouded moral choices and then really receives no repercussion for them. He screams "I hate you!", and everyone around hims thinks it's fine for him to say that. He steals and does mischievous things. And it's perfectly fine. But in the Narnia and LOTR books, these cloudy moral choices had consequences.

These stories are very entertaining and if one chose to read them to their kids, then we need to point out that sometimes Harry does not make the best moral choices and that his practice of magic is borderline evil. And once that is out in the open, hopefully kids will enjoyed them at face value, which is good guys versus bad guys.

But to be honest, I have to say I still haven't found one great Christian message in the books other than they celebrate Christmas. Big whoop.[/quote]

Thanks for this great post! :) I am a big fan of Lewis and Tolkien as well as Chesterton (just thought I'd throw that one in. :) ) And I find that comparing Rowling with these two great men...

no point. She lacks what is most important in there writings. Just my thought. :)


[quote name='saint_wannabe' post='1331093' date='Jul 16 2007, 05:00 PM']lol
well i dnt think Tolkien and lewis are as bad cuz they dont completely focus on magic and wizardry. but w.e[/quote]

The wizardry in itself is definitely not what makes Harry Potter questionable.

[quote name='Terra Firma' post='1332561' date='Jul 17 2007, 02:03 PM']You haven't read the books.

So your criticisms of the books carry very little weight (in my mind at least).[/quote]

That's why she made it clear they were her own thoughts on the subject. And she knows enough to argue about it. I'm her sister and I actually enjoy Harry Potter, but I don't shy away from the unfortunate instances in the books/movies either. So, she's had to listen about it. ;)

My view on Harry Potter is this. It is fun and enjoyable, but I see little point in kids reading it for school or anything. Maybe it does spark an interest in reading for them, but there are several other books that are just as enjoyable and less harmful (the chronicles of Narnia for instance.) I don't really think it's a good idea to let little kids read them. Maybe from teens and up, provided that they are mature enough to discern the books for themselves. I've read a few of the books, and I thought they were enjoyable, yet shallow. They lacked what C.S. Lewis and Tolkien was able to write.

I have read what Catholics see against them as well. I also listened to a series of tapes called "What's Wrong with Harry Potter?" by Matthew Arnold, and that was good. He did note specific things in the books that are against Catholicism.

Anyway, those are my personal thoughts. Maybe I ran on a little too much, but I thought I should write my input. I like Harry Potter, but I don't take the movies or books seriously at all! I have always been a fan of fantasy, and some fantasy can be questionable. I'm glad that Catholics are at least questioning Harry Potter. It's a good thing to debate about. :)

God Bless.

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[quote name='KnightofChrist' post='1334135' date='Jul 18 2007, 06:45 PM']The quote from Pope Benedict XVI could be seen as taken out of context, he is referring to his book, not necessarily other books.

As for the encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XV, it would seem we are only free when there is no "harm to faith", or when there is a absence of any authoritative intervention.
The thing is Pope then Card. Ratzinger is quoted as saying "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are [b]subtle seductions[/b], which act unnoticed and by this [b]deeply distort [/b]Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." As well reffing to Potter as part of the occult. Fr. Amorthe says the books are satanic. Subtle seductions, deeply distort christianity, and occultism and satanic elements would very much seem to harm faith, or deeply distort it.[/quote]
All of the Pope's books are his private works. That is why he says "it goes without saying" that anyone is free to contradict him, because he is not acting as Pope, he is acting as a private theologian.

A private letter from a Cardinal is not an "authoritative intervention of the Holy See." Neither is an opinion expressed publicly by a Priest, even if he ministers in the diocese of Rome. The Holy See has no position on Harry Potter, and probably never will, because it is a matter of literature and not theology.

Whether Harry Potter is "harmful to faith" is precisely what is in dispute, and Catholics are free to disagree. A Catholic may believe that "The Lord of the Rings" or "The Chronicles of Narnia" are "harmful to faith" and another Catholic may disagree with him. This is not strictly a matter of the faith (of theology proper), it is a prudential question about how a particular book of literature is to be evaluated from a moral and spiritual perspective.

The Pope's and Fr. Amorthe's private opinions about Harry Potter have no Magisterial authority. In terms of the legitimate argument over the book, one should look to their opinions and give them proper consideration, because they come from two men whose opinions are worthy of respect. But nobody is being disobedient if they come to disagree with those opinions, because the Church has no teaching about Harry Potter.

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Well I agree that in part that we are all free to our opinion, I do not however believe that our opinion is equal with that of a expert, such as the Pope and Fr. Amorthe. And I give up, and again I pray that those who praise and love potter are right, and that the Pope and Fr. Amorthe judgments are wrong. Because if not then Potter is part of the occult and is part of satanism, which no doubt the church indeed has teachings against. And if that is the case all the millions of poor souls are endangering the lost of their salvation to the fires of hell. It would seem a risk to high, but if others want to play with knifes, or a box mark explosives, God help them.

Edited by KnightofChrist
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I understand your concern, and if I had kids I would look into the matter closely. The only larger point I wanted to make for the sake of the discussion is that Catholics have legitimate freedom in these matters, such as literature and music and movies. There will be disagreements because we're not talking about Scripture or Tradition or the documents of the Church, we're talking about a book of popular literature which will be read with many perspectives. The Church gives us general moral and spiritual principles so that we can make informed decisions about these kinds of things.

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[quote name='KnightofChrist' post='1334156' date='Jul 18 2007, 07:23 PM']Well I agree that in part that we are all free to our opinion, I do not however believe that our opinion is equal with that of a expert, such as the Pope and Fr. Amorthe. And I give up, and again I pray that those who praise and love potter are right, and that the Pope and Fr. Amorthe judgments are wrong. Because if not then Potter is part of the occult and is part of satanism, which no doubt the church indeed has teachings against. And if that is the case all the millions of poor souls are endangering the lost of their salvation to the fires of hell. It would seem a risk to high, but if others want to play with knifes, or a box mark explosives, God help them.[/quote]

I think some, even you in to a certain extent, are taking the discussion of a book a lil too seriously. Some are aloud to disagree with the Exorcist, but I do agree with you when you say we should take his words into serious consideration.


God bless,
Kristina

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