Against Satanic Panics > Cultural paranoia > Roman Catholics on Harry Potter
Roman Catholic opposition to the Harry Potter books
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2006 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
For decades, Protestant fundamentalists have sought to shield their children from all sorts of pop cultural phenomena that most people would consider innocent, such as the Harry Potter books.
The Roman Catholic hierarchy, though culturally conservative too, has tended not to be as extreme as many Protestant fundamentalists in its critique of pop culture. However, in recent years, some very prominent Roman Catholics have jumped on the anti-Harry Potter bandwagon, alleging that the Harry Potter books lead kids to Satanism.
Here are reports of some statements by Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome:
- Rome's chief excorcist [sic] warns parents against Harry Potter - Catholic News, 4-Jan-02
- Harry Potter tainted by just a touch of devil, says exorcist by Melinda Henneberger, January 2, 2002, National Post Online (copy on a Protestant evangelical website, "The Prophetic Church") - about Father Gabriele Amorth, somewhat softening his previous warning about Harry Potter.
- World Media Falsely Trumpet Pope's Approval of Harry Potter - LifeSite, February 7, 2003 - on LifeSite, a Catholic religious right wing site, primarily anti-abortion
- Rowling 'Lures Kids to Satan' - World Entertainment News Network, Wednesday, March 01, 2006
- Vatican exorcist warns of Harry Potter by Jano Gibson, Sydney Morning Herald, March 3, 2006
- Vatican exorcist warns of Harry Potter, Sydney Morning Herald (New Zealand), 10 April 2006
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, has also warned against the Harry Potter books - albeit only informally, not in an official statement. See:
- Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels - LifeSite, June 27, 2005
- Pope Benedict XVI and Harry Potter - Against the Grain, Thursday, July 14, 2005.
- Vatican Radio On Pre-16 Potter Brouhaha by Jimmy Akin, July 14, 2005
The Harry Potter scare is tied to a fear not just of Satanism, but also - and perhaps even more so - a fear of occultism, Paganism, and the New Age movement. See the following pages:
- Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children’s Culture by Michael D. O'Brien, Catholic World News, Oct. 10, 2001
- Pope Benedict and Harry Potter and The War for Our Children's Souls by Michael D. O'Brien.
- Sorting Through Harry Potter by Amy Welborn, a Catholic who thinks the Harry Potter books are okay, and who blames the controversy about them on a fear of Wicca (not a fear of Satanism). She herself denounces Wicca as a "silly religion" but regards the Harry Potter books as harmless fantasy.