Sunday, September 1, 2019


Personally, I don't think Catholic Schools should promote these books but I have never voiced my concern about it as it has only been privately held. Part of my dilemma is what would be my personal hypocrisy that I loved Bewitched in the 1960's and it could also be held in puritanical disdain.  

What do you think? Are you yes or no over Harry and Bewitched?

From The Tennessean:  The students at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville can no longer checkout the popular Harry Potter book series from their school’s library. The seven-book series depicting the magical adventures of a young wizard and his friends was removed from the library because of their content, the Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the Roman Catholic parish school, wrote in an email. “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever… Read more


Anonymous said...

Bewitched was simply a show that showed the idea of witchcraft in such a campy, over-the-top, absurd way that only someone of limited intelligence would have taken it seriously.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, is far more insidious, with its suggestions of good and bad "magic", the seriousness of its treatment, etc..

If you want the dope on Harry Potter, ask any exorcist how "harmless" it is.

Bewitched, si. Harry Potter, no. Nunca.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I hope that Fr. Rehill has also removed all of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Aesop's Fables, Cinderella, Macbeth ("Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble"), Snow White, Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, Strega Nona, The Chronicles of Narnia ("The Lion, the WITCH, and the Wardrobe") and every other mention of witches, curses, spells, and/or potions that may appear in a child's book.

Much science fantasy would have to go as well

Harry Potter is not dangerous.

Cletus Ordo said...

Dear Fr. Kavanaugh,

With all due respect, you're wrong.

one of the other stories you mention treat witchcraft as a force of "good" or make it appear as an option that young children should pursue--at least not in the depth that Harry Potter novels do.

Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the late Roman exorcist warned, "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil."

Similar warnings have come from Fr. Chad Ripperger, another noted exorcist. I would strongly suggest readers take a look at this story:

Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea also reports that Harry Potter books are commonly found in the houses of family's needing exorcisms.

Of course this flies in the face of the "enlightened" ethos of our modernized posctconciliar priesthood, which teaches us that the only sins that exist are poverty racism and American Imperialism--but I would not be so quick to discount what these good priests have to share.

With so much other children's entertainment available, do we even really NEED to bother with Harry Potter?

Cletus Ordo said...

It should have read "NONE of the other stories mentioned..."

Anonymous said...

My opinion, removing the books isn’t a good idea. Catholic schools could have discussed the books from a Catholic perspective. The H Potter books aren’t the first literary works of their type. The banning almost seems like a ploy to alienate the students from the Church.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Cletus, what of the other works I mentioned? Are they to be banned as well?

ALL of these works, including Harry Potter, are stories of the struggle between good and evil. ALL of them include witches, potions, curses, trolls, ogres, and malefactors of all sorts.

I think it is important, even necessary, for young people to learn that the way of holiness is a struggle, sometimes a mortal struggle. Yes, young people NEED to read and be engaged in such tales, and if J. K. Rowling has done it is a way that draws them into thinking about what it takes to fight evil, then she has done a service to them and to us.

I would add to the list "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. Goodness knows, everything that one might find objectionable in Potter is found, in spades, in the Trilogy.

Cletus Ordo said...

If you read Tolkien, you probably noted this, then forgot about it (I know I did). Gandalf the Wizard is NOT human, and neither are the elves. Every time a human gets involved in "magic" something goes wrong.

With Harry Potter, on the other hand, you have HUMANS dabbling in what is strictly forbidden by God. All the heroes are HUMAN sorcerers. Further, you have the false dichotomy of good magic v. bad magic. The subtle message that underlies all of this is that those who obey religion are dull, while the those who make their own rules are hip and cool. The not-so-subtle message is that we should not listen to or trust authority.

So, if you want your kids to despise the authority of the Church, make their own rules and dabble in the occult (C'mon, it's JUST a Ouija Board!) just listen to good old Father Kavanaugh and indulge them with this nice, wholesome harmless occult-based entertainment literature. As for the experienced exorcists mentioned earlier--heck, what do THEY know? They're probably extremists who even believe in the Devil!

John Nolan said...

I'm with Fr K. here. Tolkien was a devout Catholic. I don't think he would have sought a nihil obstat for his fantasy novels, but neither were they put on the Index.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Cletus - The "authority" of the Church has not made any comment on the advisability of reading of Harry Potter.

And you have not commented on the list of "occult based" entertainment that I mentioned. Are we to ban "Grimm's Fairy Tales, Aesop's Fables, Cinderella, Macbeth ("Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble"), Snow White, Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, Strega Nona, The Chronicles of Narnia ("The Lion, the WITCH, and the Wardrobe")". Where did Amroth and/or Relyea stand on those works?

Lots of humans are involved in all sorts of scary things in those stories.

Regarding Potter, Nancy Carpentier Brown has written in OSV, "The deepest, most powerful expression of good in the Harry Potter books is the self-sacrificing love which Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, showed in protecting her infant son from Voldemort, offering herself as a substitute for her only son’s life, and ultimately giving up her life. Her loving sacrifice is a charm powerful enough to prevent Harry’s death as an infant, and this love also saves him in his encounters with Voldemort in school. Harry and his friends catch the train at King’s Cross Station. It’s the real name of a station, but the choice points to something Rowling wants to say. The “cross of the king” changes the direction of our lives, too, doesn’t it?

John - Tolkien's faith underpins his stories, but that does not change the fact that they are full of the very things that the Harry Potter nay-sayers seem to think is dangerous. I don't think the Trilogy or the Potter books subject anyone to entry-level occultism.

Православный физик said...

I must be on the road to hell, since my favourite show was Sabrina the teenage witch starring Melissa Joan Hart :p...all jokes aside, I don't think banning things is the answer, and I think we give more power to fantasy than we should as a society.

Cletus Ordo said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Macbeth paid a terrible price and cause horrible things to happen for consulting with the witches. As for the others--L. Frank Baum wrote many books in the OZ series, and I have never been comfortable with Glenda the "good witch".

As you said, the Church has no official statement on Potter, (or on many other controversies as well--such as the false apparitions at Medjugorje), but if you are comfortable advising people to take their chances, that's on you. Personally, I trust the advice of the priests I mentioned far more than an editorial in Our Sunday Visitor (the Catholic literary equivalent of TV Guide).

Maybe you're right, but I think it's far safer not to take chances--especially with our children. I only wish you were as devoted to getting to the truth as you seem to be at winning arguments. Now go ahead and slam me with the last word.

Cletus Ordo said...

Православный физик "I don't think banning things is the answer."

Ban? Maybe protecting is more the word we need to examine. Would you let your children get a copy of The Satanic Bible by Anton La Vey?

Anonymous said...

I am the mother of an 11 year old boy. We have seen all of the Harry Potter movies but not read any of the books and so I don't know how faithful the scripts were to the actual written word. However in movie #1 it is made perfectly clear that the overarching theme of the story was the rejection of evil. Valdemort tried to tempt Harry by saying "There is no evil and no good.There is only power." Harry responded by screaming "Liar!" Voldemort did NOT say there is no evil MAGIC and good MAGIC and that is a very important distinction because in our non-fictional world all magic is evil (a point I drove home to my son before letting him watch even one of these movies.)
Another thing I pointed out to my son is that the major plot vehicle of this story was that humans did not go to Hogwarts to learn how to become witches and wizards - in this fictional world they were born witches and wizards and that's what qualified them to attend the school and also what drove Voldemort to try to purge the people with "muggle" blood (human blood) in their lineage from their society.
Pope Benedict said that these books are dangerous to children because (paraphrasing what I remember) they introduce children to witchcraft. They certainly can if they aren't explained by catholic parents who know better, but as another commenter pointed out, so could anything written by Tolkein or much written by C.S. Lewis.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Voldemort also died. Pretty terrible price. With the destruction of The Ring, Sauron was overwhelmed.

I don't think anyone is taking a "chance" by reading a fantasy that includes witchcraft - or Hobbits - or Hags that want to cook small children - or Pied Pipers who kidnap children - or Mirrors On The Wall.

I'm not slamming you - I am disagreeing with you.

Anonymous said...

Well, if nothing else, all this information about the content of Harry Potter certainly reinforces the old adage that the Devil always mixes a bit of truth with his lies.

Православный физик said...

Cletus Ordo, if the day God willing comes that I do have children, iImost certainly would not let them have a copy of such a book (at least within the confines of my own house). But being a teacher, if they did happen to end up with such a copy. I'd point out x,y, and z, and why that is so and so. Or in other words, I do my best to not let a fictional reality control reality.

Cletus Ordo said...

"A fictional reality"?

The Devil is a "fictional reality"?

Thank you. You've told me all I need to know about who I am discussing this with.

TJM said...

I think most of us can distinguish between fantasy and reality, good and evil. No movie is going to affect my moral compass. These movies are escapism and entertaining

David Burkovich said...

TJM said...
I think most of us can distinguish between fantasy and reality, good and evil. No movie is going to affect my moral compass. These movies are escapism and entertaining.

Now that makes me laugh, because I've heard that said by many people, including myself at an earlier point in my life. Not meaning to be self-righteous, but I am a weak person and certain TV shows and movies do put me in the near occasion of sin through my eyes and mind. I think none of us are above that, including all the saints. The flesh verses the spirit. It's a constant battle until the day we die.

Anonymous said...

The forces that are trying to tear the Church down, destroy belief in the Real Presence, promote abortion and install socialism are the same ones promoting these books. They’re using the minds of children to accomplish all this. Remember that Cardinal Ratzinger also spoke out against the books, pre-Benjamin, and urged that they be banned. Would that the world had listened. Sickening to see that so many of you have taken up with the One Workd Liberals in promoting this filth. It explains so much about the state of the Church. Prayers.

Jacob said...

God Bless the priest, we need more like him !!!!!

Православный физик said...

Cletus Ordo, Just so there isn't any confusion, I was not refering to the devil as fiction...he is most certainly real, Harry potter however is fiction/fantasy. The fictional/fantasy world shouldn't control what happens in reality, and that's much of what society does indeed struggle with the difference between fiction and reality.

Cletus Ordo said...

Control? Certainly not. However, there is no denying influence.