The Devil and Harry Potter

I was an avid reader of the Register, until I read “A Passive Protagonist No More” written by Steven Greydanus concerning Harry Potter. I have since canceled my subscription, which I had paid for through 2008. My concerns are as follows:

In the article, he clearly implies in the first couple of paragraphs that the Pope and the Vatican officials have not come down upon the witchcraft and occult themes in the books and films by Rowling. He has not done his homework on this, but has believed what the journalists want people to believe, that witchcraft is not so bad.

The chief exorcist in Rome, appointed by the Vatican, Father Gabriele Amorth, has exorcized 30,000 persons who have been victims of Satan’s influence, possession or oppression. He is also president of the International Association of Exorcists.

Father Amorth has declared in a public interview, “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of darkness, the devil.” In the same interview Father Amorth warned that Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art.” He also noted that there is no distinction in her books between black and white magic, “because magic is always a turn to the devil.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states this.

Another exorcist, Father Francisco Bamonte, an Italian exorcism expert and author of Diabolical Possessions and Exorcisms, said the Harry Potter books and films are a clear attempt to induce adolescents to an esoteric mentality of magic, the Mexican daily newspaper Milenio reported.

You can see the truth in this by typing in Harry Potter on Google and see how many occult links pop up. I believe our children are in danger and are tempted to enter into the occult after reading and seeing this series.

I do not understand why Catholic laypeople and some clergy would believe the secular press about the moral effects of these books, but would ignore what Vatican experts who deal daily with the results of playing around with the occult.

These exorcists are clear when they say to stand clear of anything having to do with magic and the occult.

Kathleen Donovan

Ocala, Florida

Editor’s note: When readers give up their subscriptions because our paper is faithful to an unpopular doctrine of the Church, we part ways knowing we have irreconcilable differences. Harry Potter is not something that the Church or this newspaper has an official position on. There is a wide divide among Catholics whom we respect over the prudence of reading Harry Potter books — there is even a wide divide in Circle Media’s offices over the question. We would urge you to stay with us. We need our readers in order for us to continue our important mission.

Thanks, Bishop

Kudos to Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Patterson, N.J., for speaking out against 18 Catholic pro-death congressional Democrats who denounced Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that politicians who support abortion should not receive the Eucharist (“Bishops Criticize Pro-Abortion Pols”).

Bishop Serratelli said these representatives were refusing “to allow the Pope freedom of speech and the Church freedom of religion.

While applauding Bishop Serratelli, one would hope that all the bishops would aggressively speak out against the pro-deathers’ audacious invasion of the Catholic faith, taking the opportunity to teach Catholics and non-Catholics alike our beliefs about the Eucharist and about life.

In mind are episcopal letters to be read at all Masses, newspaper ads, letters to representatives, etc.

Bishops should make it very clear that they will not be intimidated by such intrusions into their domain as teachers of the Catholic faith. To do nothing only emboldens such officious actions and prompts more of them, as has been the case so often throughout history.

John Naughton

Silver Spring, Maryland

Catholic Response

I am responding to two letters that appeared in the July 22 edition of the Register. In the letter from Michael Welter, titled “Not Truly Pro-Life,” he describes President Bush as not being truly pro-life because he does not oppose the death penalty.

Unfortunately, Mr. Welter, who describes himself as a Catholic, has not consulted the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism states, in No. 2267, “The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty.” Therefore, it is possible for a practicing Catholic, and certainly a non-Catholic, to be pro-life and, within certain limitations, to be pro-death penalty.

The second letter, titled “Anti-Abortion President,” from Scott Medine, credits President Bush with being a good anti-abortion president, but neglects to credit the president in other areas where he is pro-life, such as his opposition to embryonic stem-cell research and cloning. Mr. Medine then goes on to create facts that do not exist: The President is waging an unjust war, as stated by John Paul II. The Holy Father did oppose war in Iraq, in the same way he would oppose any war, but he never titled the war in Iraq as an “unjust war.”

As to the charge regarding Scooter Libby, there was never any possibility that what Scooter Libby did endangered any CIA agent. Other charges by Mr. Medine could have been written by a Democratic strategist. His position on pro-life is that in order to be pro-life you must either believe in socialism or a massive transfer of wealth.

I prefer the teaching of John Paul II in Christifideles Laici (The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World), which states, “The common outcry which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and condition to all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

Anthony P. Marino

Pembroke, New Hampshire

Editor’s note: Careful: The Pope and the Vatican are not pacifists. Faced with recent atrocities (20th-century gulags, mass starvations, genocides, atomic and suicidal attacks in Israel and in our own country in the 9/11 terror attacks), the Holy Father and the Holy See did not take a pacifist position. They appealed to the international community for military action in Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia. They never disagreed with the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan — in fact, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had words of understanding and explanation about it. The opposition to the war in Iraq was not just an automatic pacifist response — it was the judgment of the pope (and every Catholic bishop in the world who addressed the issue) that there was no just cause for war.

Called to Be Faithful

Regarding “‘Voice of the Faithful’ Stops Claiming Doctrinal Fidelity” (July 15):

The irony of the title of an organization calling itself “Voice of the Faithful” while touting the view that vows to celibacy may be a cause of the infidelity and sexual abuses of priests was amusing and tragic. To call attention to the occurrences and secrecy of infidelities is a worthwhile and necessary endeavor. However to reason that the causes are because of a priest’s vows to be faithful to Jesus Christ and his church is like blaming the institution of marriage as the cause of adultery.

Taking vows is serious business and requires divine grace to persevere in staying faithful. Vocations to priesthood and marriage require commitment and sacrifice.

When we are truly faithful to our respective vows, we adhere to a life of commitment to something or someone and forsaking other things or people. Being faithful doesn’t lead us to secrecy and sinfulness. Infidelity does.

Karolee Stauduhar

Longwood, Florida

Disingenuous Attempt

I appreciated your Aug. 5 publisher’s note on getting a letter published in the Register: Write with respect, make one point, etc. But after reading the letter “Mandatory Celibacy” by a Voice of the Faithful vice president in the same issue, perhaps you should add advice about not leaving out the most important steps of one’s argument.

The writer states rightly that we must all do what we can to understand what contributed to the sex-abuse crisis, and rightly says that a culture of secrecy protected abusers. But to connect the two by saying that “mandatory celibacy appears to cause a culture of secrecy” is a huge logical and empirical leap, even with the slippery verb “appears.”

There is a connection between sin and secrecy, given human nature, but there is no necessary connection between celibacy and such a culture, and to argue for a probable connection in the manner that Voice of the Faithful has done leaves me unconvinced.

The connection is not only tenuous but disingenuous in its attempt to manipulate readers into concluding that celibacy somehow, even if indirectly, caused the abuse crisis. Aside from the lack of warrant for the secrecy argument, if marriage prevented either pedophilia or homosexual abuse of adolescents, then there would be no such abuse in public schools, where teachers can be married, or in Protestant denominations.

Though that abuse is as bad or worse than that among Catholics, since schools cannot be sued and Protestant denominations are not set up financially to have as deep pockets as Catholic dioceses, we hear little about it.

No one denies that we’ve had married clergy before, or that there are now married priests from other ecclesial communities in the Church. But the issue is highly complex, and I suspect that the Vatican would require much more profound argumentation to reconsider this discipline than the Voice of the Faithful supplies.

Mary Taylor

Sandy Hook, Connecticut