What’s your opinion of the Hairy Potter phenomenon?

July 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

People everywhere are either fired up in favor of Hairy Potter or strongly against him — not much middle ground on this issue, it would seem. Some say the whole Hairy Potter phenomenon is a crock. Others glaze over at the mere mention of the subject. Many like throwing it out there just to provoke a reaction. Some insist that the casting would have been more effective had it been in China. Everyone’s got an opinion. What’s yours? Discuss amongst yourselves.

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34 Responses to “What’s your opinion of the Hairy Potter phenomenon?”
  1. Adrian says:

    I feel the greatest risk with ‘phenomenon’ like Harry Potter is not so much the content at face value or even hidden agendas. In my opinion the greatest risk is the potential to consume a person, even for short periods, so that one is almost training their mind to enjoy obsessing about something. When it is gone and over, and another ‘phenomenon’ comes along, that training kicks in and the person will repeat the cycle… at its worst, a person can end up like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_Book_Guy

  2. Helene says:

    I think this is a moot point as the Vatican/Pope have already condemned these works, but of course many Catholics ignore our Holy Father and the Church magisterium.

  3. elleblue says:

    Children are exposed to all kinds of ‘garbage’ that passes for TV and has no moral value at all. It’s great that Harry Potter struggles like everyone else in spite of his amazing gifts. He suffers personally and still holds fast to his beliefs in goodness and truth.

    His portrayal is a good role model for kids and the books have encouraged millions of children to ready and use their imaginations again! How wonderful!

  4. TB says:

    I think there is rightful concern over the not so subtle references to the occult in this series. However, when the author in 2007 at Carnegie Hall proclaimed that Dumbledore was a GAY character who fell in love with another male character (Grindelwald), that was enough for me to know that these writings have authorship that is pursuing an agenda which is antithetical to Catholic beliefs. When she announced her position that Dumbledore was gay she was greeted by an ovation from the audience of Potter groupies! Makes you sick.

    You do well to steer your children clear of this tripe! It is more cultural subversion at best and based in evil at worst.

  5. Daniel J says:

    OK Derek, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I still didn’t get to call on many of the other educated Catholics who find Harry Potter dangerous, including the man on whose blog we are leaving comments. Many Catholic authors of very high caliber find Harry Potter to be mediocre from a literary point of view, and very problematic from other points of view.

    One such man is Michael O’Brien, author of Father Elijah and other strongly Catholic works and friend of Patrick Madrid. In fact, they have worked together in pointing out the dangers of Harry Potter in the past. Here is a link to some of his thoughts, and it includes more context for now-Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on the Potter series: http://www.studiobrien.com/writings_on_fantasy/pope-benedict-and-harry-potter.html

    Here is another link to an entire set of links from numerous authors addressing why the Potter series is fundamentally different from and inferior to past fictional works by Catholic authors, with seemingly similar elements which have substantial points of divergence: http://www.staa-homeschool.com/RSRharrypotter.htm

    Even though the statements of our now-Pope and the so-called Chief Exorcist of Rome (I never said the Vatican) are not official Church teaching, I am very inclined to take their wise and educated opinions over those of practically anyone else in the world. I certainly don’t trust myself to be able to discern things perfectly (the first rule of spiritual warfare is distrust of self, according to the best spiritual writers), nor do I recommend that anyone else take that tact! Not that you are… I’m simply saying that I’d take an educated and experienced priest academic or exorcist who demonstrates holiness over my opinion any day. Of course, I have also educated myself on the topic so as to be able to use my judgment to the best of my ability. That’s simple prudence.

    In order to have a bit of background on the comments of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, I suggest you read the book by Ms. Kuby. For a bit more context, here is a quote from a Christmas card sent to Ms. Kuby from the Cardinal: “Thank you very much for your courageous engagement against occultism and magic.” All this in light of his enthusiastic allowance for her to use his comments from the first letter seem to paint a clear picture, at least before my eyes.

    Here are some very good thoughts from Michael O’Brien:
    http://catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0071.html
    http://www.zenit.org/article-3242?l=english

    Here are thoughts from other Catholic authors:
    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4624
    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/mainstreaming_witchcraft_parents_assess/
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/harrypotter/harrycane.htm

    Here’s something you can purchase to hear our friend Patrick weighing in on the issue: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931973024/philosophynot-20/

    If I had to choose only two articles to read, I would recommend the link to the first article from the “very good thoughts” of Michael O’Brien heading and the link to the first article from other Catholic authors (it should be by Toni Collins, who had some experience with the occult). I hope neither you nor anyone you know ever has an experience with the dark forces in this world, but please take it from those who have experienced it; stay away from Harry Potter and the things it can lead to. God bless you and your family, and may you be protected from the evil one and his influence now and always.

  6. jim says:

    Patrick don’t be so DUMBledore that’s clearly Shaggy Sir-Ramic impersonating a Hairy Potter, now quitage and get on to more important things

  7. Daniel J says:

    Here is an interview done with Fr. Gabriel Amorth:

    http://www.vaticans.org/index.php?/archives/61-An-interview-with-the-Vaticans-chief-excorcist,-Father-Gabriele.html

    Hopefully, it will dispel people’s suspicions that he is some sort of radical or lunatic. He makes statements that make you wonder (which the media and others use as headlines or blurbs to discredit him), but then he explains what he means. You can see an intelligent, wise man when you have the context and clarification of a full interview.

  8. Daniel J says:

    P.P.S. I did not mean to imply that forgery is common practice at the Vatican… it was supposed to be an “unless it is common” type of statement. Essentially, I was making the point that I doubt that the signatures originated from anywhere other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger himself.

  9. Daniel J says:

    Hello Derek (and all),

    First, I appreciate your sincere and genuine response to my last post. Thank you. However, I still feel that, among the other objections I have made, there is good reason to rely upon the statements of then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Fr. Gabriel Amorth.

    While the absence of the safeguards explored in the article (which Anna linked to) does not necessarily make Harry Potter automatically dangerous, it certainly makes it more dangerous. Have you noticed the increasing prevalence of witchcraft and/or the occult in mainstream media over the past few decades? Here are some examples: shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and thematic elements in soap operas like Passions; movies like The Craft, The Crucible, Practical Magic; books like Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation, The Everything Kids’ Witches and Wizards Book, The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter, and others.

    Even though Harry Potter may lack explicit occult practices by the protagonists, it leans too far in the direction. It is part of the spiritual battle that has been raging forever, and specifically in America over the past few decades. I suppose a good way to describe Harry Potter is as a “stepping stone” to more. Did you know that publishers, seeing the profitability of books like Harry Potter, have produced an array of witch-themed paperbacks to help teens grow into more “age-appropriate” sorcery?

    Take, for example, the books of these three series: Witches Chillers (by the author of Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation), Circle of Three, and Daughters of the Moon. Witch writers and their publishers are banking on children’s fascination with the occult to make a profit, and it is working.

    These are only a few of the symptoms that we can see in America. Witchcraft, Wicca, Voodoo, Hoodoo, and other forms of un-Christian supernaturalism of varying sinister quality have grown in popularity. These are some of the things that, perhaps, the former Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Chief Exorcist of Rome (he is indeed the Chief Exorcist… please show me anything that proves otherwise) are aware of that we, as lay Catholics of lowly position, did not know. Perhaps, rather than criticize Fr. Gabriele Amorth as did the writer of the article, we should look more closely at the situation and why it is important to protect ourselves and our children from books like the Harry Potter series.

    In answer to the criticism of Fr. Amorth’s claim to have performed 30,000 exorcisms over nine years, I would say that it is entirely possible. If you read his book (An Exorcist Tells His Story) or study exorcism in general, you will know that it is very possible to not only perform multiple exorcisms each day, but potentially to perform multiple exorcisms a day on one person. It often takes years to fully exorcise someone, because the weakest demons leave first and only when all others are gone does the most powerful leave. In addition, many people make their situation worse before coming to an exorcist. What I mean by this is that they go to a witch, or warlock, or some other person who claims to have “cures.” Once they pay the witch to cast a spell to heal them, they have invited even more serious possession and strengthened the hold of the demons over them. It is all discussed and verified through personal testimony of formerly possessed individuals in his book. He doesn’t make wild claims in his book; rather, he tells it like it is, even if it is hard to believe. Did you know that Father Benedict Groeschel wrote the Foreword to the American Edition of Fr. Amorth’s book? Please read it if you haven’t already.

    The author of the article you linked to goes through a great deal of supposition and scenario-building to make it unlikely and unbelievable that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger either wrote the letter or meant what he said therein. However, you can find electronic scans of his letters (in original German) at these two links:

    First Letter- http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005_docs/ratzingerletter.pdf
    Second Letter- http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005_docs/ratzingerpermission.pdf

    I took the trouble of using a translator to verify that these letters were legitimate and the content matched the translations found on multiple other websites. The interesting thing that I wanted to bring to your attention was the signatures at the bottom of the two letters. Now, unless the secretary was committing forgery (and that is a common practice at the Vatican), we can see that both are signed with the Cardinal’s name. Furthermore, each signature is different, so they could not have been signed with a stamp (unless it is common practice to keep different signature stamps at the Vatican). Therefore, it is likely that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger read and signed off on the letters, even if he did not type them up.

    As for the content, I thought the article’s author had to do some mental gymnastics to convince himself and others that the Cardinal meant something other than what he said. If you are familiar with the good Cardinal’s background as an academic and a scholar of the highest caliber, you would suspect that he had, indeed, looked into the topic. I would say that he probably did read both the book by Kuby and possibly the Harry Potter book(s) that he commented on. He does not casually throw around opinions, nor are his opinions to be dismissed lightly. He is, frankly, one of the most brilliant academics that the Church has ever known.

    All in all, I’m still not convinced (after looking into it pretty substantially, as you can see) that Harry Potter is harmless or that we should discredit the statements made by these two men. God bless!

    In Christ,
    Daniel J

    P.S. I’d have to see the context of the highly inclusive Nazi possession quote. I would say that it is quite possible that all of the true Nazis (the ones who understood and subscribed to the ideology without fear or other outside influence to push them into service) were potentially possessed. It takes some serious evil to do the types of things they knowingly and freely did, and I would think that Fr. Amorth meant those types of people rather than the rank and file enlisted soldier. It’s just common sense to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, considering his office, wisdom, and experience.

    • Derek says:

      Hi Again Daniel,
      That was an interesting interview, and I agree that Father Amorth comes off as perfectly rational. I don’t consider him a crackpot, but we can all get too immersed in our work and see things from an extreme point of view. And I am still dubious as to some of his other statements and claims, especially the volume of exorcisms he has performed. I cannot help but feel that either those numbers are a gross exaggeration, or we have a severe problem of semantics, where what he means by exorcism is much different than how I understand the term.

      Be that as it may, Father Amorth is speaking in no official capacity. The article you linked to makes clear what I’ve suspected every time I saw the term “Vatican’s Chief Exorcist” in capital letters as if it were an office of the Holy See. The article itself says “Described as the Vatican’s chief exorcist”. It’s a nickname, not a title. The only official position I’ve seen attributed to him is honorary president of the organization of exorcists that he founded.

      So, I cannot prove a negative, but I have found no Vatican office that would have a chief exorcist, I’ve found another article that indicates there is no such office here – http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/warning-labels-vatican-stories-especially-exorcism – and your own article states that he is only “described as”, therefore I maintain my stance that he is not “The Chief Exorcist” of the Vatican, and therefore holds no declarative authority.

      And again, whether or not the documents you linked to are genuinely from the hand of Cardinal Ratzinger, they are still neither substantive nor officially declarative, and that weighs heavily into my estimation of their value. I do not at all dismiss what he had to say, either as Cardinal or as Pope, but other subjects I’ve heard him render an opinion on have come with thoughtful explanation. In the present case I have none of that to go on.

      And no, I do not see an increasing presence of the occult. I see the same things that have always been there, repackaged for a new generation. Insidious? Absolutely! Evil? Of course! Evidence that Harry Potter is bringing new practitioners to witchcraft? I really don’t think so. It was said that Harry Potter fails to show that in the real world white magic is just as bad as black magic, and that could feed an already existing unhealthy interest in magic, and by extension the occult. I’ll allow that’s plausible under the right circumstances, but I’ll also say that I don’t believe it to be commonplace, and restate that this is where a parent has to know their child. If your child has this unhealthy interest, you may rightly decide to keep them away from Harry Potter. But feeding an unhealthy interest does not necessarily correlate to causing an unhealthy interest. I also don’t propose banning cars because some young drivers have an unhealthy interest in reckless driving.

      So I think we’ve come to the part of the program where it’s time to play “Agree to Disagree”. I think we’ve both said as much as we can say, and we’re in danger of completely hijacking this thread, if we haven’t already. :)

      My sincere thanks for a thoughtful and stimulating discussion. God bless, and have a good day.
      Derek

      • Daniel J says:

        OK Derek, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I still didn’t get to call on many of the other educated Catholics who find Harry Potter dangerous, including the man on whose blog we are leaving comments. Many Catholic authors of very high caliber find Harry Potter to be mediocre from a literary point of view, and very problematic from other points of view.

        One such man is Michael O’Brien, author of Father Elijah and other strongly Catholic works and friend of Patrick Madrid. In fact, they have worked together in pointing out the dangers of Harry Potter in the past. Here is a link to some of his thoughts, and it includes more context for now-Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on the Potter series: http://www.studiobrien.com/writings_on_fantasy/pope-benedict-and-harry-potter.html

        Here is another link to an entire set of links from numerous authors addressing why the Potter series is fundamentally different from and inferior to past fictional works by Catholic authors, with seemingly similar elements which have substantial points of divergence: http://www.staa-homeschool.com/RSRharrypotter.htm

        Even though the statements of our now-Pope and the so-called Chief Exorcist of Rome (I never said the Vatican) are not official Church teaching, I am very inclined to take their wise and educated opinions over those of practically anyone else in the world. I certainly don’t trust myself to be able to discern things perfectly (the first rule of spiritual warfare is distrust of self, according to the best spiritual writers), nor do I recommend that anyone else take that tact! Not that you are… I’m simply saying that I’d take an educated and experienced priest academic or exorcist who demonstrates holiness over my opinion any day. Of course, I have also educated myself on the topic so as to be able to use my judgment to the best of my ability. That’s simple prudence.

        In order to have a bit of background on the comments of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, I suggest you read the book by Ms. Kuby. For a bit more context, here is a quote from a Christmas card sent to Ms. Kuby from the Cardinal: “Thank you very much for your courageous engagement against occultism and magic.” All this in light of his enthusiastic allowance for her to use his comments from the first letter seem to paint a clear picture, at least before my eyes.

        Here are some very good thoughts from Michael O’Brien:
        http://catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0071.html
        http://www.zenit.org/article-3242?l=english

        Here are thoughts from other Catholic authors:
        http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4624
        http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/mainstreaming_witchcraft_parents_assess/
        http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/harrypotter/harrycane.htm

        Here’s something you can purchase to hear our friend Patrick weighing in on the issue: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931973024/philosophynot-20/

        If I had to choose only two articles to read, I would recommend the link to the first article from the “very good thoughts” of Michael O’Brien heading and the link to the first article from other Catholic authors (it should be by Toni Collins, who had some experience with the occult). I hope neither you nor anyone you know ever has an experience with the dark forces in this world, but please take it from those who have experienced it; stay away from Harry Potter and the things it can lead to. God bless you and your family, and may you be protected from the evil one and his influence now and always… Amen!

      • Daniel J says:

        Derek,

        I tried to comment last night, but something was preventing my comments from posting (dang internet). Anyway, I will make the comments I give brief and succinct.

        1) I will always take the statements of wiser people than myself with great weight, especially those appointed to be shepherds and, additionally, exhibit signs of sanctity and great education. This is why I must agree with the good Cardinal and Fr. Amorth. Here is a link that provides even greater context on the Cardinal’s statement:
        http://www.studiobrien.com/writings_on_fantasy/pope-benedict-and-harry-potter.html

        2) Here are two articles that I found most enlightening and helpful of all:
        http://catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0071.html
        http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4624

        3) I also highly value the experience of those who have been involved in the occult and gotten out of it, by the grace of God. These people see so many elements similar to those to be found in the Potter series. When they tell us that we should avoid it because it is so close to the “real thing,” I take their advice… very seriously.

        Please look into the links I am providing you, and may the Holy Spirit guide you and all of us into decisions best for ourselves and (even more so) our children. Amen.

        P.S. If I don’t hear from you again, thank you for the interesting conversation. It was enjoyable, and helped me to further understand my own position!

  10. Derek says:

    To my friend Daniel J (and anyone else interested in this issue),
    After my reply to your last post, I came across this excellent essay linked to by Anna.
    http://www.decentfilms.com/articles/magic.html
    “An in-depth analysis of the literary use of magic in the works of J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis”

    It truly is “in-depth” and is excellently constructed and reasoned. My summation of the essay is that Rowling’s work doesn’t include the “safeguards” that Tolkien and Lewis used to ensure they weren’t mistaken for endorsing the use of magic in the real world, but that doesn’t automatically make her work dangerous. Magic in the Harry Potter universe doesn’t reflect occult practices (with a couple of exceptions of gravely evil magic done by the villians of the story), so ultimately parents should know their kids before allowing them to read Harry Potter. And that’s good advice for parents deciding anything for their kids.

    There was also a link to another essay by the author called “Harry Potter vs. the Pope”
    http://www.decentfilms.com/articles/harrypotterandthepope.html

    This essay addresses the two quotes that Catholics have been using against the Harry Potter series.

    In the first case, the veracity of the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger is called into question. To my mind the vagueness of the quote itself and the questionable context it was given, and the question of whether it was the Cardinal himself or someone in his office, all lead me to give the quote no weight at all.

    In the second case, it turns out the quote was from a priest who is an exorcist in Rome, but holds no official position or title to that respect. There is no “Chief Exorcist of Rome”. This priest has made some wildly questionable statements in the past, and therefore his quote in addition to not having any official authority, should also be taken with a grain of salt.

    I stayed up way past bedtime reading these two essays, and I highly recommend them to you (all) as well.

    God bless,
    Derek

  11. Jim says:

    Hey, at least this HAIRY potter is not wearing the funny looking glasses.
    Actually, the glasses I have to wear to work, they kind of resemble those, according to my brother! Yikes! ! !

  12. Martin says:

    “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.”
    -Rev. Fr. Gabriele Amorth

    This makes it easy cos I’m not ready to challenge the opinion of the Chief Exorcist of Rome. Are you? :)

    (Its like debating with your surgeon about what he should fix, how do you think that will work out, lol).

  13. Daniel J says:

    So Derek, I can take it then that you are criticizing the habits of leisure chosen by the figures of authority I mentioned earlier? I am honestly curious. The major difference between most fairy tales and Harry Potter is that the wizards/witches are antagonists. We are taught that they are to be disliked, not championed. It has always bothered me, even as a child, when sorcerers or witches were portrayed as protagonists (The Wizard of Oz, Glinda; LOTR, Gandalf, etc). Perhaps I am and have been “too radical” from childhood, but that is just how I have been moved by my conscience.

    There have been reports that traffic on occult websites has boomed and still booms with the release of new Harry Potter books and movies. I think that this is proof that, even if it did not occur on the past, it is happening now. It is a sad fact that we have to face and deal with. After all, with children’s easy access to the occult via the online space, things are not like they were in past centuries. We’re fighting a battle on a different landscape now. Isn’t there enough ambiguity and confusion in our culture of moral relativism without introducing wizards and witches as heroes in stories with, as Caroline (who has read the books) states, “dark and depressing” themes and situations?

    The battle of good vs. evil is simply good storytelling… a hero struggles against an obstacle to reach a goal, sacrificing his/her own well-being if necessary for those he/she loves. They have that type of framework in books with great and terrible content (and everything in between).

    As I said in my first post, from a literary standpoint, the Harry Potter books are mediocre. You can partake of recreational/relaxing reading through sooo many other excellent books. Unless your children read more than anyone else I’ve ever met, there are plenty of better, less sinister writings for them to indulge in.

    So, based on a knowledge of the content (through research and testimonies from others), I can still in good conscience take a “lead us not into temptation” stance, along with the Pope and Chief Exorcist of Rome (please address that if you want to convince me… that’s a serious point of contention)! Oh, and I never said or even implied that recreational reading is a waste of time; certain types and qualities of content, however, are a waste.

    So, I’d like to say that I am not trying to be a stick in the mud or radical traditionalist (to the extreme). I’m simply saying that, based on the statements of people I trust far more than any lay person and my own knowledge of how Satan works in ways of varying subtlety, I would stay away from such books and keep my children away from them as well.

    Notice, I’m not trivializing your point of view or making light of the situation. I’m being perfectly sincere! Thank you for your thoughts, and God bless you and your family.

    • Derek says:

      Hi Daniel,
      I do not doubt your sincerity, nor do I criticize anyone’s leisure habits. Whatever helps you unwind is what you need. I was criticizing those who would imply that leisure reading is an unworthy pursuit because there are “better things to do”. I think if we spent all of our time on “better things to do” we’d go crazy. And without reading the entire thread, I don’t believe you were the one who implied leisure reading was a waste of time. I wasn’t replying to you or anyone else in particular, but to the general ideas of those who are against the Harry Potter stories.

      You are correct that witches et al were primarily antagonists in stories once upon a time, but you also mention some big examples among many when this wasn’t the case. My bigger point is that fantasy fiction creates a world of wonder that is separate from our own reality. My 7 year old daughter can separate fantasy from reality, and I am confident other Harry Potter fans can as well.

      Your point that interest in the occult has boomed with the publication of the Harry Potter books does not pass the “eye test” for me. I have not seen any reports of this phenomenon, nor have I witnessed any such thing myself. To me it hearkens back to my teenage years when Dungeons and Dragons role playing games were claimed to be spiking an interest in the occult. There may have been isolated incidents here and there, but the hype much outweighed the reality. And now we’ve come full circle to it again. There’s nothing new under the sun.

      I would quibble with your assessment of the Harry Potter books being mediocre, but to me that’s just a matter of taste, and not germane to our discussion. There may or may not be “better” books to read out there, but why should that mean I shouldn’t read this? Should I listen to George Strait every day because he’s “better” than Alan Jackson? I would, however, agree with Caroline that the books do become more dark (although I would say “sad” at times rather than “depressing”) but that’s what happens in war, and therefore stays true to the narrative. So again, I don’t see that as a reason not to read the books.

      Now, I personally AM a person who believes that when a member of the Magesterium makes a public statement, it should be taken into account because of the respect due to the person who made the statement. However, the two statements you refer to I found to be neither substantive nor authoritative. There was no explanation or reasoning given to back up the statements in relation to the content of the Harry Potter stories, and the comments were made, as far as I could tell, personally and not officially. Therefore, while I take them seriously, I also feel free to inform myself on the subject. And I have done so by way of reading the entire series through three times, and I also read them to my children.

      Having read them, I decided that they were suitable for my children because there was no reference to the occult and they were entertaining and engaging stories. It is also worth repeating that good wins out over evil not because of greater power/weapons or cleverer planning, but because of love and self sacrifice. This is precisely the lesson Jesus came to teach us, and I don’t make this statement lightly. I mean this in all sincerity.
      So hopefully I’ve explained well why I am a fan of the Harry Potter stories and see no demonic influences or dangers. I appreciate the dialogue with you and may God bless you and your family as well.

      Yours in Christ,
      Derek

  14. Sue says:

    Wait, John, you fail to notice the spatters on his shirt and pants! Though I’m not a potter myself, my daughter has tried it a few times, and the hands must be wet, not “caked with clay.” In fact, I would say that clay caked hands would result in a rough looking pot indeed. This is an authentic Harry Potter, I’m sure of it!

    Call me corny, and easily entertained, but this photo made my day.

  15. Julie McSweeney says:

    Fired – crock – China – The Hairy Potter. This has been the funniest Facebook entry of my day. Thanks Patrick. Is this person related to you???

    Perhaps you could compose another entry about Holywood verses Hollywood.

  16. Derek says:

    Oh for goodness sakes! Did none of you read fairy tales when you were little? Witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, fairies, sprites etc, etc, etc… What about comic books? Super powers that people stumble upon by accident, or mutations they’re born with, or bequeathed by advanced aliens, etc, etc, etc…

    Kids have been reading this stuff for centuries without being tempted into the occult. The magic in this story is simply the universe in which the story takes place. It’s something the characters are either born with or arent. There aren’t rituals or deals with the demonic by which they gain these powers. They simply have them and that provides the framework for the story.

    So within that framework your have a classic battle of good vs. evil. And who wins in the end? Good! What turns out to be stronger than the strongest dark magic? Love! Those are themes that I as a good Catholic can get behind. Fighting against the odds for what is right, and sacrificing yourself (including your own life) for the good of others are ideals I want my kids to see in their heroes.

    And to those who say Harry Potter is bad because it distracts from better pursuits, I say nonsense! Pleasure and relaxation are perfectly legitimate and necessary uses of our time, so long as (like everything else, including work) we don’t do them to excess.

    So, if you don’t like Harry Potter on it’s own merits, no problem from me whatsoever. But spare me the “lead us not into temptation” hysteria until you know the content of the work, and don’t tell me that reading for enjoyment is a waste of time.

    Thank you,
    Derek

    P.S. LOVED the picture!

  17. M says:

    I think that clay can get too easily caught in all that hair. Though I must always applaud him. I’ve seen this done so many times, I can’t help but admire the stuff it takes to accomplish something so…round…and…neat! That about sums it up!

  18. Geoff says:

    I don’t have a problem with it for myself, since I’m the only person I have any sway over. Since I’m not stupid enough to run out and do everything that every film/book/song/advert suggests that I should then I’m pretty sure that I won’t be trying to cast spells that won’t work anyway. Keeping in mind that the wizards and witches are portrayed using every cliche available and not as wiccans, so there’s no real world tie-in here.

    For parents, they can make the decisions for themselves and then for their children and for sure the later books aren’t nearly as fun(or child friendly) as the earlier ones but there are a lot of positive elements to the books. Personally I get a little tired of hysterical denunciations in general but that’s just me.

  19. Christopher Allen says:

    I think there may be a problem with the hair getting clay all over it and causing discomfort.

  20. Caroline says:

    I have read all the books because I work with children and so many of them love the series. Personally I think they are very dark and depressing. There is almost a lure about the way they’re written and the fruits of them seem to invite a curiosity about witchcraft. Not a fan.

  21. Dan Hughes says:

    Did you add something punny in your morning cup of coffee Patrick?

  22. Daniel J says:

    BTW, I very much appreciate the pun! I believe my browser failed to display the images (on top and the CAPTCHA Code on the bottom) until I posted the previous comment. What a shock!

    What they say is true: A picture IS worth a thousand words…

  23. Mary says:

    I am so dense! I was wondering who the person in the picture was and what his literary expertise might be!

  24. Daniel J says:

    Well, considering the opinions of current Pope Benedict XVI (then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) and the Chief Exorcist of Rome, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, I think I’ll err on the side of their education and experience in saying that it is probably not very constructive and potentially quite destructive.

    Many people have told me that these men probably haven’t read the books. However, I don’t know whether they have or not, and I’ll give their intelligence the benefit of the doubt. I’ll say that they probably looked into it a bit before they threw an opinion out there, being smart and wise as they are. I’ll also take their opinions over those of lay Catholics, considering that they are both shepherds who have special charisms from the Lord to help guide and protect us as the flock.

    All in all, I think the books/movies are a waste of valuable time, which could be spent on more constructive reading/viewing, if nothing else (i.e., prayer, service, study, etc). My understanding is that they are not even excellent from a literary standpoint (something they have in common with the Twilight series). In one of his videos, which can be found on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ChnQE7DO0U), Fr. Robert Barron points out that when society rejects the supernatural in religious form, the people’s natural inclination to desire God/the authentic supernatural must be filled by something else. As a result, people turn to other forms of (forbidden/unhealthy) supernatural “food,” like a fascination with witchcraft or undead immortals who thirst for blood.

    In any event, I’m sure I could go on for a long(er) time and so could those who disagree with me (citing the harmless Latin phrases, “good” witches and warlocks, Christian imagery in the stories, redeeming qualities of the characters, etc), but I’d say that, at best, Harry Potter is a distraction from better pursuits.

    • Grace says:

      Did you notice the picture at the top of this post or the puns? ;)

      I think you and Patrick Madrid are talking about two entirely different “Potters”. :D

    • John Proffitt says:

      If we are actually responding with serious opinions about the Hairy Pottery (sp?) movie and books, I frankly see very little difference between them and The Lord of the Rings trilogy that everyone loves because the author is a Christian. You still have wizards and magic – it is good vs. evil, and finally doing the right thing because it IS the right thing. I personally won’t go see it, because I can’t see wasting money on a movie in the first place, but I certainly wouldn’t avoid it for it’s content. I see way worse on TV in prime time programming anymore. I actually kinda get it when the fundamental Islamics rail against the decadence of the Western culture. We certainly are not a “fundamentally” Christian society anymore. Keep saying those rosaries!!!

      • Anna says:

        I would say there are some differences between the “magic” of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. It is best explained in a piece done by Stephen D Greydanus (the link is here http://www.decentfilms.com/articles/magic.html).

        To quickly name a couple things in Lord of the Rings: the wizard Gandalf is in a land that has no relation to ours, is later indicated to not even be human, and himself strictly warns against the main characters using magic (the Ring and the crystal balls). From when I read it, I think it would be difficult to gain an interest in occult things from the way JRR Tolkien portrays Gandalf and the other wizards.

  25. Patricia says:

    I am personally 100 percent against it and would stay far away from viewing it for myself. I believe that there is a lot of witchcraft in it. There have been known that children after seeing the movie try to do the abra cadrabra things that they seen during the movie. I do not agree with the Vatican that this is an okay movie. I believe there is a evil spirit behind it. There are other wholesome movies that lift up friendships.~Patricia

  26. John Proffitt says:

    Hairy’s hands are way to clean for this to not be a staged picture. I think he is a fraudulent potter poser trying to fool us all. But I have seen through the chicanery with the clear eye of sincerity (latin root “sin cera” meaning without wax to denote a sculpture that is not flawed in any way with wax inserted into flawed areas to deceive the purchaser). The public wants, no it demands a new picture of another hairy potter with hands appropriately caked with clay before they respond to the question at hand!!!!

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