Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Harry Potter Books Banned by Priest

Just in time for the new school year, Harry Potter is in the news again, but not for literature related reasons.  A Catholic priest in Nashville, Tennessee has removed and banned books from a school library at St. Edward Catholic Church.  This is not the first time accusations against Harry Potter books have been presented by religious groups. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, one of the chief exorcists of Rome said in 2011 that Harry Potter can lead to evil.

Fr. Daniel ReeHill, pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church claims that the Harry Potter book series misrepresents the idea of magic.  Magic is presented as being both "Good and evil."  He claims that the spells or curses used in the book series are actual spells and curses used by Wiccans or those who are into the occult.

Harry Potter was written by J.K. Rowling and have sold over 500 million copies worldwide.  The book follows a young wizard named Harry Potter who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Reehill sent an email to staff at St. Edward Catholic school, he wrote:

"The Harry Potter series of books have been removed from the St. Edward school library for several reasons. These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.
I have consulted several exorcists, both in the United States and in Rome, and they have recommended removing the books from circulation, the books also use nefarious means to attain the goals of the characters, including the 'good' characters. A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. The Harry Potter books do not follow this premise; rather they promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire with whatever means are necessary.
The books also glorify acts of divination; of conjuring the dead, of casting spells among other acts that are an offense to the virtue of religion – to the love and respect we owe to God alone. Many reading these books could be persuaded to believe these acts are perfectly fine, even good or spiritually healthy. St. Edward is committed to advancing the Catholic faith and teaching the standards of sound doctrine to instill strong Catholic moral values. Books and other materials which present a possible threat to our faith will not be promoted by our church or school."

Father Reehill also cited the Catholic Church's catechism which states:

The Catechism, the teaching of the Church, states that, "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (CCC 2116)

What do you think about this story?  Post below on disqus. Be sure to follow the guidelines for posting a comment.  Here is my opinion.  As a bibliophile, I cringe at the thought of book banning or book burnings.  Books are sacred things. They help us learn and force our brains to think critically and internally.  I am a fast learner but have noticed that I learn better when I read things instead of listening to someone teaching me something. Reading has helped open my mind to many things, including God and religion.

I understand what Fr. Reehill is coming from, but I feel his concerns are reactionary and exaggerated. Harry Potter is simply a fictional work, nothing else.  In order to get possessed or have some demonic presence attach itself to someone, that someone must invite it in freely.  Reading a book does not do this.  While not mathematically accurate, I would say that 99% of the time, kids reading Harry Potter are not even aware of evil, spells etc in the same way adults are, especially religious ones.  By simply reading something with content that relates to spells and curses, one does not invite evil in.  If this were the case, then we all would invite evil every time we read the mentioning of Satan in Scripture.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church itself specifically states what we are to avoid.  Reading books is not mention.  What is mentioned is the consultation of horoscopes, astrology, palm reading etc.

Harry Potter, while silly and full of magical content is just innocent reading which engages the imagination. With the onset of the internet and cell phones, reading has gone down.  Harry Potter has helped alter this trend. Many kids are not hooked on reading. This is a good thing.  Think about it. Satan wants the downfall of human beings. How does helping kids read and learn help in his endeavor?  I assume keeping humans ignorant is the way to go if satan wants to make humanity fall more.

As for the spells in the books being real, I cannot truly say for sure that this is accurate. I am not sure where this claim comes from. If a priest says that the spells in Harry Potter are real, one must ask: How does he know?  This means he is reading actual spell books or is associating with witches.  I have yet to see evidence that shows the spells in Harry Potter are actual spells.  If they are, why has there not been a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the creators or writers of these spells?

I think Harry Potter is harmless reading.  Parents should decide what they want their kids to read. As long as a child is actively religious, there is no need to fear spells and the like.  The latter does not work anyhow.  No power exists alongside that of God's.  A spell has no power. It is just empty words.  Only God has power.  Satan itself cannot act unless it is with permission from God!

The Church has to be careful with engaging in book censorship or burning again.  History shows that the Church has attempted to censor works of literature out of paranoia. This is not a good attitude to take in the 21st century. We do not want to repeat history. Censorship shows paranoia and insecurity.

I think atheist reading material is more dangerous than Harry Potter books. Atheist reading content makes you stupid. I have never seen a kid get possessed after reading Potter. But I have seen friends become cognitively lethargic after reading Dawkins, Krauss etc.








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