Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Mr Potter, I presume

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mr Potter, I presume

I went tonight to the 12:00am bookstore debut of Harry Potter. I could buy the book at any time, but I enjoy the pagentry and show of first opening. There were little kids excitedly prancing around the store, with horned rimmed glasses and scars carefully drawn on their foreheads. Colorful characters in a mishmash of medieval clothing and monster suits worked their way through the crowd. There was a steady hum of anticipation as various theories flew around the building of the identity of the half blood prince. Seeing the kids around me excited over a book (a book! no x-boxes involved!), I found myself getting somewhat angry at the new Pope.

For those of you who don't know, letters from Cardinal Ratzinger were released this week regarding Harry Potter. The new pope feels that "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly,"

I'm going to avoid delving to deeply into the churches knowledge of subtle seductions of the young as Jon Stewart covered that quite well last night ;) Needless to say, I think there are many huge problems Catholicism has to deal with. There is of course the scandals that rocked the church system in the United States, and threaten to bankrupt many parishes. There is the dwindling number of people in Europe who attend masses. There is the steady march of traditional Catholic strongholds in South America towards Evangelicalism.

I don't consider the indoctrination of millions of impressionable school age kids into the seedy world of pagan worship through Harry Potter one of those concerns. Harry Potter is about a kid, who mostly tries to do the right thing and fights evil do-ers. He stands up for the downtrodden, and is in stark contrast to the injustice and corruption around him. This should be a character Christians embrace. He embodies many of the noble characteristics of mankind, and encourages children to read, to think and to dream. Instead he gets a rap as a corruptor of innocent youth.

I think this kind of knee jerk reaction is one of the things that angers me most about Christianity. It's not about the trees folks, it's about the forest. Focus on the things that are truly important to your faith, and the little things like children's books won't matter.


Blogger CelticDiva said...

I feel the need to make several points about how "Catholics" feel regarding Harry Potter.

First, in all the years I went to Catholic School (16 to be exact) we celebrated Halloween enthusiastically every year DURING SCHOOL HOURS. Plus, I never ONCE heard a negative comment about witches, wizards, goblins, dragons or any other creatures of fantasy. Many of my classmates were fellow sci-fi/fantasy buffs and I remember getting into a big discussion with one of my religion teachers - a deacon - about our mutual love of LOTR.

Secondly, there are a number of writings and commentary favorable to the Harry Potter stories from Catholics of note - including the late Pope John Paul II:






Thirdly...and this is something that many people do not understand about the Catholic Church...the times that the Pope speaks with the authority of the Church are quite rare. This is not one of them, as is explained by Jesuit priest Fr. Michael Kelley in an interview yesterday:

"It does not represent the Catholic view," Fr Kelly told Channel 7´s national Sunrise program. "He was writing as a private individual."


Fr Kelly explained his view that if Catholics are obliged to ignore Harry Potter, it could equally be argued that under Pope John Paul II, they were required to join the Holy Father in supporting the Liverpool football team.

...and again...

"It´s about young minds imagining the way things are," he said. "It´s about growing the imagination, which is a good and healthy thing."

These are words from the Church I grew up with. Those in the Church who have somehow adopted the views of Fundamentalist Protestants are not practicing Catholicism found in the Catechism, but some hybrid that needs to be squashed.

The Catholic Church has enough problems and internal issues without the Baptists screwing them up even more!!!!!

(I'm kidding...sorta...)

7/15/2005 11:46 PM  

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