National Catholic Register

Commentary

Will the Real Harry Potter Please Fly Away

BY Jim Cosgrove

December 16-22, 2002 Issue | Posted 12/16/01 at 2:00 PM

 

Harmless Harry

Regarding “Mainstreaming Witchcraft? Parents Assess Harry Potter” (Dec. 2-8):

Your writers clearly show that they believe the Potter books are dangerous, and that kids will take the books seriously and start to show interest in practicing magic.

Harry Potter is virtually harmless children's fiction. There are other children's books out there that are far more dangerous, like Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, for instance, where violence is glamorized and glorified and made to look honorable.

In the Harry Potter books, good moral lessons are always taught, and the magic should be seen as a backdrop and not as a primary influence. While it is true that the books teach some lessons that are wrong (cheating, stealing), they are kept at a sustained minimum, and children know better than to follow them. I also find it interesting that most of the anti-Harry Potter people I know have never even read the books.

WILL GROSS, age 14

Boise, Idaho

Burned by Wicca

I was disappointed at your “open-minded” treatment of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Do we Catholics have such short memories that we forget the disaster “open-mindedness” wreaked upon the post-Vatican II generation?

My young life was a casualty of lack of proper catechesis, which included absolutely no warning about the occult. Therefore, as a Girl Scout, I became deeply involved in the occult. I played with ouija boards and participated in séances, levitation sessions and attempts to imitate witchcraft. My leaders and mother were aware of this, and failed to advise us against it. Fortunately, the grace of God prevailed, but not until I lost most of my 20s to worldly conduct.

The appeal of certain aspects of Harry Potter is where the danger can be found, blinding even good mothers (like my own) to the insidious influence of the occult. Children near adolescence crave power over their own lives and even over the lives of others. Witchcraft (including astrology) seems to offer that.

Those who think it a reach to connect Harry Potter to interest in the occult should hear Steve Wood, president of St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers, speaking on this subject on EWTN. As a Protestant pastor, he was often involved with teens seduced into satanic activity. He says that the police, in investigating a satanic-type crime (animal or human slaughter with ritualistic markings, for example), would first go to the library and see who had taken out books about the occult to work up their list of suspects.

What began my interest in the occult? Do you remember the TV program “Bewitched”?

LETICIA C. VELASQUEZ

East Moriches, New York