Of all the jawdropping things I’ve read, this may be the jawdroppingest.
A site called LifeSiteNews — which appears to focus primarily on ending abortion, proclaiming that there’s such a thing as ex-gay, and “defending true marriage” — is running with the notion that Harry Potter, the boy and the franchise, is an evil minion of Satan sent to devour small children and seduce us all into orgies of baby-eating and other demonic activities.
This is LifeSiteNews’ headline, which is jam-packed with crazy all by itself:
Harry Potter expert criticizes Vatican newspaper’s glowing review of Deathly Hallows 2
It’s batshit crazy because the “Harry Potter expert” isn’t, like, J.K. Rowling but Michael O’Brien, who has written a “book” called Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture (as if culture were inherently Christian), which explains why Harry is “destructive to heart, mind and soul.” O’Brien believes that Harry Potter is “fundamentally disordered,” and so is outraged that the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, had this to say about Deathly Hallows Part 2:
[E]vil is never presented as fascinating or attractive in the saga, but the values of friendship and of sacrifice are highlighted. In a unique and long story of formation, through painful passages of dealing with death and loss, the hero and his companions mature from the lightheartedness of infancy to the complex reality of adulthood.
That’s remarkably not batshit crazy at all. Which is what has O’Brien’s panties in a twist. From LifeSiteNews:
The L’Osservatore Romano review, said O’Brien, begs the questions “Who is behind the editorial policies at the Vatican’s newspaper? Why would they posit as good a tale about a violent, morally confused sorcerer as a Christ-figure? Why, moreover, have they simply ignored Pope Benedict’s critical insight into the Potter series?”
In two letters first translated and published online by LifeSiteNews.com, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to a German writer of a book critically analyzing the Potter series. “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,” he wrote.
I wonder how they imagine little readers of Harry Potter books are going to express their incipient Satanism. Have there been outbreaks of goat sacrifices and demonic hexing among the elementary school set that I’m unaware of? Or are the like of O’Brien simply terrified that children will start learning early on that hero’s journey stories abound in our culture, and that there’s no need to, you know, build religions around them?
No, wait. It gets better.
Cardinal Ratzinger’s was not the only Vatican voice to express grave concern over Potter. The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, has repeatedly condemned the Harry Potter novels. In 2006 he said, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil … By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil.”
The Vatican’s chief exorcist. Now we see the problem. And actually, I can see O’Brien’s point. The Vatican is engaging in its own brand of pretend fantasy magic. Perhaps the Vatican should be concerned about the competition from another sort of pretend fantasy magic.
Also too again: No one has yet explained or given examples of how we “end up with the Devil” when we read or watch Harry Potter. Details, please!
Did you know Harry is a metaphor for the Antichrist?
O’Brien warns, “As charming as Harry may be (and in the films he is much more charming due to the persona of the actor who plays the role), he is a type or metaphor of Antichrist, mutating Christian symbols and then absorbing them into a more dangerous worldview — moral relativism saturated in the symbology of evil and various manifestations of the occult.”
Mutating Christian symbols. Hey, O’Brien: Did you know that the story of Jesus mutates Mithras symbols? Jesus is a type or metaphor for Mithras! I am outraged by this, and want everyone to be aware that Jesus is drawing you away from the true meaning of Mithraism.
Oh, yes: Harry is all about moral relativism. Which is, as far as I can determine, figuring out how to be a good person without having to invoke the horrors of eternal damnation and other religious mumbo-jumbo.
Seriously, though: It will be interesting to poll Millennials in 20 years or so and see if they’re less Judeo-Christian-ly religious than their parents. I’m betting they won’t be.
my not batshit crazy review of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’