Friday, July 27, 2007

Jesuit Blogger, Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J. On Harry Potter

I have some questions?
Why would a Jesuit priest want to be published on the Huffington Post?
Why would a Jesuit priest waste his time writing an article about Harry Potter?
What pope has remarked negatively to Harry Potter?
Do you get my point?

Here is a piece on J.K. Rowling and her personal faith.

Faith and Culture: JK Rowling on God & Magic: In Her Own Words
November 22, 2005
Original article (here)

In the hysteria about Harry Potter it might be good to know what JK Rowling has actually said herself!

I am Christian and this seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said, 'yes,' because I do. But no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that and, I have to say that does suit me...If I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent reader -- whether 10 or 60 -- will be able to guess what is coming in the books.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, to reporter Max Wyman, Vancouver Sun, October 23, 2001

"Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said, 'yes,' because I do."

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, to reporter Max Wyman, Vancouver Sun, October 23, 2001

"So I have never said these are books are for very young children."

J.K. Rowling, why she feels uneasy when parents tell her that their young child loves the books, Time, October 30, 2000

"I believe in God...Magic, no, I don't believe in that."

J.K. Rowling, who is a member of the Church of Scotland, on Hot Type with Evan Solomon, CBC Newsworld (Canada), July 13, 2000

"I truly am bemused that anyone who has read the books could think that I am a proponent of the occult in any serious way. I don't believe in witchcraft, in the sense that they're talking about, at all...I think it's a source of great fun, drama. Magic is going to be a theme of children's literature as long as the human race exists."

J.K. Rowling, about her bestselling Harry Potter books, to reporter Audrey Woods, AP, Edinburgh, July 6, 2000

Now here is Fr. Malloy's post on the Huffington Post.
Harry Potter: Good for Everyone (Even Christians)
Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J.
Posted July 19, 2007 | 03:00 PM (EST)
Original Huffington piece (here)
My comments in bold.

God, save us from stupid Christians(New evangalization technique, Grace through insult). Groups of "imagination challenged" believers have, over the years, decried the Harry Potter books as dangerous to believers. Too many people of faith (who I suspect have never read the books) libel J.K. Rowling's imagination as a work of the devil. Not true.

First, the Harry Potter books do not teach children to practice magic. In very British style, one is born magical. We muggles cannot be or become magical. Muggle kids reading the books can no more practice wizarding like Hermione, Ron and Harry, than I can cast a spell and apply for Prince William's job. The children at Hogwarts are able to practice magic. Children not born with magical abilities can't play Quidditch, just as I cannot divine next week's lottery numbers.

Second, Harry Potter's very existence is due to the self sacrificing love of his mother. Nancy Carpentier Brown in her article "Can Catholics Read Harry?" (Our Sunday Visitor, July 8, 2007) writes: "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." Brown goes on to point out that the children leave for Hogwarts wizarding school at King's Cross station intimating that the cross changes(Reaching)the direction of our lives. She goes into greater detail about these matters in her book The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide (2007). You can read Brown's article online at the Our Sunday Visitor website .

Actually, the Potter books are filled with very good moral prescriptions for children (and adults). The basic themes and story lines all teach that we must develop and hone our talents and abilities, and place them in the service of good rather than evil. Most importantly, for today's overly individualistic kids stuck in their own little iPod worlds, Harry has to reach out to others, form friendships, follow the advice of mentors, and generally grow as a person in relation with others in order to fulfill his role in the community (Community, interesty choice of words). And a great vocation that role is: confronting the power of evil by guarding the magical world from "the one who shall not be named," Voldemort, the wizard who has turned from the path of good and right, using his powers to spread evil.

The stories' basic plot lines are as old as humanity. Rowling's books tell the tales of a flawed and imperfect hero who is called upon to save us all from powers malevolent. Harry's adventures fill our imaginations and call us to struggle to be our better selves. Kids reading about Harry learn they must work hard to become the persons we need them to be, self-sacrificing persons, doing what needs to be done in order to make the world a place wherein all can grow happy and healthy and holy (Harry Potter is not about Holiness) and free. There is certainly a connection between today's young adults willingness to engage in significant service work and their having been raised in the glow of the Harry Potter stories.

J.K. Rowling's (rhymes with "bowling") books have sold some 325 million copies, and this Friday evening, parties at book stores across earth will be more magical than anything she ever dreamed up as a young mother on the dole in the U.K., as she began to pen the Potter books in a coffee shop. Even more unearthly was her decision to package the books as big 700-page reads. The publisher of The Lord of the Rings (The L.O.R to Harry Potter is an insult to the bible refrences to which the Christian themes of L.O.R. contain) insisted the books be put out as a trilogy, fearing no one would tackle a 1,000 page tome. Publishing seven fat books, rather than dozens of slimmer 100 -150 page "kids' books" means Rowling actually lost money (hard to believe when one notes she's now richer than the Queen of England!)(Now that real Christian charity!). Instead of seven $20 - $35 volumes, imagine being a parent and having to shell out $12.95, 25 or 30 times, for each successive Potter adventure.

The real magic, or miracle (notice choice of words), of Rowling's Harry and crew is that they actually got kids to read. The astonishing achievement is that Rowling persuaded people to read in a land where we watch TV on average four hours and thirty five minutes daily (accessed Sept 21, 2006). Morris Berman reports in his The Twilight of American Culture, "Roughly 60 percent of the adult population [of the USA] has never read a book of any kind, and only 6 percent reads as much as one book a year" (Berman, 2000, p. 36). According to Berman, 120 million Americans (of the 272 million in the USA circa the year 2000) are illiterate, or read no better than 5th grade level (Berman, 2000, p. 36). In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) survey, "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America," reported that reading was down in all groups studied. The worst rate of decline - 28 percent - occurred in the youngest age groups. The head of the NEA, Dana Gioa, stated: "This report documents a national crisis. Reading develops a capacity for focused attention and imaginative growth that enriches both private and public life. The decline in reading among every segment of the adult population reflects a general collapse in advanced literacy. To lose this human capacity - and all the diverse benefits it fosters - impoverishes both cultural and civic life."

This is the cultural situation in which Rowling has gotten millions of kids to crack 700-plus (Figures don't lie and liars figure)

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI on Harry Potter
Original article (here)

The Pope's comments were included in two letters to Gabriele Kuby, the German religious author, who had sent him a copy of her book, Harry Potter - gut oder böse? (Harry Potter: Good or Evil?)

In one response, dated March 2003, he wrote in German: "It is good that you enlighten us on the Harry Potter matter, for these are subtle seductions that are barely noticeable, and precisely because of that have a deep effect and corrupt the Christian faith in souls even before it could properly grow."

He also thanked the author for her "instructive" book, in which Frau Kuby says the hugely popular Potter novels risk corrupting young people, preventing them from developing a proper sense of good and evil. She argued this could harm a child's developing relationship with God.

Is Fr. Rick Malloy's post just a stab at the Holy Father?

Here are some excerpts from Fr. Casimir Puskorius, CMRI article entitled, Harry Potter is Dangerous for Both You and Your Children
3rd Sunday of Advent, December 16, 2001

Original article (here)

“The first book of the series, entitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, finds the orphan Harry Potter embarking into a new realm when he is taken to ’Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’ At this occult school, Harry Potter learns how to obtain and use witchcraft equipment.”

This is not harmless white magic! We’re talking about something far more serious.

“Harry also learns a new vocabulary, including such words as Azkaban, Circe, Dracho, Erised, Hermes, Slytherin, all of which are names of real devils or demons. These are no characters of fiction.”

There simply is not a clear distinction between good and evil in the Harry Potter books, such as there is in the C. S. Lewis Narnia series. The following is taken from an interview with Michael O’Brien on this subject (as reported by ZENIT, Dec. 6, 2001):

I'll stick with Tolkien and Lewis, and skip Rowling.

1 comment:

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