Thursday, October 28, 2010

Harry Potter: The Warnings

Today's posting provides several warnings on the dangers of Harry Potter.  The warnings come from top level Vatican officials such as Pope Benedict XVI, the Chief Exorcist of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, as well as lay Catholic writers Gabriele Kuby and Michael D. O'Brien.

For those visitors to our blog who are new to the Harry Potter occult controversy, to parents whose children have read the books and seen the films, and to those in general, who just do not see the dangers of Harry Potter, I invite you to read on and discover the truth of the matter.

One of the first early significant warnings came from Rome's Chief Exorcist and president of the International Association of Exorcists, Fr. Gabriele Amorth in December'2001.  In an interview with ANSA, the Italian News Agency,  Fr. Gabriele stated that the Harry Potter books made several positive references to magic, the "satanic art."  The book's author J.K. Rowling tries to make a distinction between black and white magic, when in fact no such distinction exists because all attempts to use magic are a recourse to the devil.   He also commented on the disordered morality presented in the story lines where rules can be contravened and lying is justified when they work to one's benefit.

Father Gabriele repeated warnings, in February 2006, when he was quoted as saying, "You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil.  There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.  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."

In March 2003, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, entered into the Harry Potter debate by encouraging and supporting German writer, Gabriele Kuby, who raised objections against J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. The main thrust of Kuby's objection was that the books corrupt the hearts of the young by preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil. This harms their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

In an interview with Zenit News Agency, Kuby quoted Pope Benedict XVI's support for her efforts, "It is good that you shed light and inform us on the Harry Potter matter, for these are subtle seductions that are barely noticeable and precisely because of that, deeply affect (children) and corrupt the Christian faith in souls before it (the Faith) could properly grow."  Since then, Gabriele Kuby, has completed a book on the Harry Potter occult controversy entitled, Harry Potter:  Gut Oder Bose (Good or Evil).  If you visit her web site and click on the "Books" navigation menu item, in the following page's left sidebar, you will see a "Harry Potter"link.  This will take you to her dedicated Harry Potter page, where she lists:

  • 10 Arguments Against Harry Potter
  • At her Resonance section, quotes from Pope Benedict XVI
  • Copies of letters sent from Pope Benedict XVI to her, encouraging her to inform and make clear the Harry Potter matter

Michael D. O'Brien, a Canadian Catholic writer and artist who is dedicated to the restoration of Christian culture, has written extensively on the dangers of Harry Potter.  I would like to draw your attention to two key sources from O'Brien.  The first is his recently released book entitled, Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture. Included is an analysis of each Harry Potter book, parental strategies for a healthy family culture, information on Pope Benedict and Harry Potter, insights into the war of disinformation and opinion, other occult material such as Twilight of The West, the Golden Compass and much more.

The second is an article O'Brien wrote entitled, Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children's Culture.  In it, he provides a wealth of information exposing the truth of Harry Potter's occult content.  Right from the beginning on the Harry Potter section, O'Brien states, "...the series presents the world of witchcraft and sorcery in a positive light..."  He goes on to further expose the first four books.  Here's a short list of just some of the occult content he has commented on:

  • the reader is introduced into the world of sorcery
  • the main character, Harry, enters Hogwarts, a school for witchcraft and wizardry, where student witches/wizards are taught to cast hexes and spells and there are different classes for divination, potions, spells, herbology and other occult knowledge
  • there is a false notion throughout that "the end justifies the means"
  • there is no reference to a system or moral absolutes against which actions can be measured
  • he quotes and refers to Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who has stated that sorcery is the growing cause of diabolic possession and other forms of bondage to evil

Do we want children to be exposed to the pursuit of power and esoteric knowledge as the wizard world of Harry Potter encourages?  No, we do not!  As O'Brien states, "...In reality, magic is an attempt to bypass the limitations of human nature and the authority of God, in oder to obtain power over material creation and the will of others through manipulation of the supernatural.  Magic is about taking control.  It is a fundamental rejection of the divine order in creation..."

The dangers of Harry Potter are real. We hope this information will help parents to guide their children away from the dangers of this occult world.   Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility that children as they get older, just may dabble into the occult, a world that is not only familiar to them, but one that they can too easily become desensitized to because of the popularity and seduction of the Harry Potter series.  As O'Brien states in the above mentioned article, "...If magic is presented as a good, or morally neutral, is there not an increased likelihood that when a young person encounters opportunities to explore the world of real magic he will be less able to resist its attractions?"

If you were never convinced of the dangers of Harry Potter, I hope this entry has provided you with something to consider.  For those who are interested in reading more about this topic, below is a list of resources:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harry Potter: The Occult Controversy

With the recent release of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the film version of the Harry Potter print series, it seems only fitting that we tackle this occult controversy and expose the truth about Harry Potter.

As the Harry Potter phenomenon continues to contaminate the hearts and minds of Canadian youth, I felt it necessary to address my concerns and that of so many other like minded Christians, who clearly understand the Harry Potter controversy, that it glorifies and propagates the occult.

Make no mistake, the Harry Potter story line is about witches and wizards, the practice of divination, necromancy and sorcery.  It is all presented in a glorifying way through the exciting adventures of a young boy's life.

Why should we, as Canadians, be concerned?  First and foremost, we must identify evil in all its forms.  As conscientious Christians, citizens and for many of us, parents, we do not want our children's understanding and values to be shaped by evil, no matter how exciting, well written and produced Harry Potter is.  Children are especially vulnerable because of their age and lack of experience and understanding and as such, can easily be contaminated with occultism and not even know it.  What can we do? Simple, be informed and aware of story lines like Harry Potter.  The remainder of this blog entry will begin that process for you.

Back in 1999, in an interview on American radio, the Diane Rehm Show, J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, admitted that she studied witchcraft and mythology in order to write her books more accurately.  In addition, she stated that one third of what she had written is based on actual occultism.  In his article entitled, The Problem With Harry Potter, Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D. lists several occult elements in the story line.  Just to give you an idea of how extensive occultism exists in Harry Potter, below you will find a partial listing from Brown's above noted article:
  • Charms and Casting Spells:  Accio (the summoning charm), Alohomora (a spell to unlock doors), Adava Kedavra (the killing curse), Mobiliarbus (magic spell to move objects) and several more
  • Divination (Fortune Telling):  arithmancy (divination through numbers), rememberballs (marble sized balls used by the holder to tell if anything has been forgotten), parseltongue (snake language) and the mirror of erised (divination mirror).
  • Sorcery:  thujone (dangerous drug), mandrake (narcotic with magical powers), monkshood (deadly poison), wormwood (used for sleeping potion), elixer of life (potion to make a witch/wizard live forever), unicorn & blood drinking, Nicholas Flamel (an actual occult figure from France) and more
A single entry within a blog format does not permit me to list all the occult elements within the Harry Potter story lines, but I will add to this list in subsequent postings. Certainly the above list is enough evidence to grasp the moral dangers of the Harry Potter series and hopefully capture the attention of parents, concerned citizens and my fellow Christians!

For readers who want more information on this topic, I would to offer up an article from Fr. Lazare de la Mere de Dieu, entitled, Harrycane:  a sign of the times.  Father Lazare's analysis of Harry Potter really puts things into perspective.  For example, Catholic teaching tells us that we should not return evil for evil, but do as Christ instructed us to, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you..."  (Luke 6:27-28).  Harry Potter and his friends do the exact opposite:  they cast spells, create potions, lie, steal and cheat. Hardly the values we would like our children to be raised with!  The underlying theme of Harry Potter is "the end justifies the means," and this is not the message we want our children to learn.

Our focus as Christians is to ensure that our children are raised with Christian values, which begins with the recognition in the existence of God, a fact never mentioned by J.K. Rowling.  As Fr. Lazare states,  "For Christians, Jesus Christ is the "way, the truth and the life," and no matter what life situations they find themselves in or how difficult the journey, how they cope with it all will be determined by the presence of Jesus in their lives, and His faithful mercy."

There is so much more that could be said about Harry Potter, but I will leave that to other postings.  I hope that this entry has convinced you of the dangers of Harry Potter and for parents, to ensure that such readings and movies are not part of your children's lives.  I also hope that everyone who reads this entry will have an increased awareness of the occult elements contained within these series and find it useful to share it with others.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Canadian Universities: Stop Censoring the Pro-Life Message

(The following video and today's posting exposes the abusive behaviour by the police and administrators at Carleton University in responding to students peacefully witnessing for life. The heavy-handed approach infringes on the students' constitutional right of freedom of speech to speak out against abortion.)

As a Canadian citizen and graduate from a Canadian university I find it very frightening that on October 4, at the Carleton campus, students were handcuffed and arrested. They were charged for peacefully witnessing for life. Each student was fined $130 and then released. All this happened because they wanted to display the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) which compares abortion to the horrors of genocide, using explicit imagery. Some find the graphic images disturbing. But abortion is not about horrible images; it’s the actual killing of human life. This is what ought to trouble our consciences, not the realistic pictures.

Certainly the situation at Carleton did not require the heavy- handed approach taken by the police. After all, the protest was peaceful and no passers-by were ever in any danger. My understanding is that the students had been told not to conduct the protest on that part of the campus and were offered a much less public location. The students refused the offer, but was it necessary for the police to handcuff and have them arrested in order to stop a relatively minor infraction of school regulations? Was there another agenda by university administrators behind the scenes?

Having the police confront the students is not going to encourage any constructive dialogue. As a result we must ask, does the university believe in free speech? Would the university have reacted in the same manner had the demonstration come from a pro-abortion group? or an Islamic/Jewish/gay group? Is the university afraid of protecting life? Isn’t higher education interested in the truth? If Canadian universities truly support the right to free speech for all students, then they should allow pro-life groups to express their views just as they do with any other group. It’s at the heart of a democratic country, or are Canadian parents sending their sons and daughters to centers of higher learning only to have them brainwashed?

I urge the president of Carleton University Dr. Roseann O’Rielly Runte in the future to let the pro-life side be heard as well. Silencing the pro-life side is unjust, anti-life and censorship. It destroys the very essence of why a university exists. I also urge administrators of other Canadian universities where pro-life groups have been given a difficult time, to hear the words of Fr. Simon Lobo who is the brother of Ruth Lobo, one of the students arrested. She is also the president of Carleton’s Lifeline, a student pro-life group.

Fr. Lobo who works at the parish of St. Maurice, in Ottawa, preached to his parishioners the week after the incident and told them he was proud to be Ruth’s brother. He said he could no longer be silent on the issue. In his homily, he did not just blame the police, the university, and in his words on, “those who promote a radically liberal agenda” for the confrontation, “but you and I are part of the problem, because we have put up with too much for too long. This is where we've come as a society. As Canadians we pride ourselves on being so tolerant, and yet it seems the tolerance only goes in one direction – and it's not in favour of life, and it's not in favour of Catholicism at all."

And that’s not all he said. Canadian Catholics and all those of us who call themselves Christians need to take seriously what Fr. Lobo said next. It’s an idea we have also been promoting in this blog. Fr. Lobo made this important observation that Canadians' tax dollars are used to fund both the cost of abortion and the cost of academic institutions such as Carleton. He reminded the faithful that our tax dollars also pay for the police, who were called in to arrest the students. In his words, “On an annual basis, I would suggest that as a parish …– indirectly – we give more money to support abortions and the pro-choice cause than we donate to support women in crisis pregnancies and the pro-life movement. Does that bother you?” It should!

This anti-life censorship taking place in a number of Canadian universities and in Canadian society should deeply disturb us all, particularly Christians. Fr. Lobo’s homily is really a call to our baptismal promise to hear the Word and then to not be afraid to speak it and to live it. We need to get better informed about these life and death issues. We must let our politicians know that we will no longer stand by and allow them to use our tax dollars to pay for abortion or to arrest students promoting a culture of life in Canada.

What can you do? Write to the president of Carleton and let her know you support those students and their right to free speech. These are not just academic issues or ideas, but this is a war that we need to engage in as Catholics. Canada must return to a culture of life, a culture that is open to the truth and to religious freedom. As well, we should thank Fr. Lobo for having the courage to openly speak the truth. He should know that we completely support him. The question now is, are we willing to change the present state of our society by living and putting our faith into action? Because, to affirm it again, the most important issue of our times and the root of all other issues, is the right to life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Brother André: Pray for Canada

On October 17, in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, something truly wonderful happened for Canada: Brother André was canonized. He is now officially recognized by the Church as a virtuous man who can now intercede in the lives of the faithful.

Brother Andre’ was a Holy Cross Brother who was born on August 1845 and died in Montreal, in 1937. He lived most of his life as a humble porter. His life has been a source of inspiration for countless thousands of pilgrims. Brother Andre’ was devoted to St. Joseph, Canada’s patron saint. People who met him quickly sensed that they were in the presence of a man who loved them and respected them. He especially cared for the poor and those who were physically ill. He was always ready to serve those who asked for his prayers and his help. Many of them would later attribute their cures to him. His response was always to say that he did nothing. However, he would tell anyone who wanted help to pray to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Mother and to ask for their intercession. Jesus, he would say, won’t refuse to give His Mother and “Father” what they asked.

His recognition by the Church is truly a blessed event for Canada. A devoted holy man to St. Joseph, the patron saint Canada, St.Andre' has become the first male saint born in Canada. Is there a message in this? I’ll give my answer to the question later. The canonization ceremony was broadcast live all over the world from Rome. The story of Brother André’s canonization is a Canadian historical event for the virtual world too because it was carried live on Face book and Twitter.

Alfred Bessette, who we now know as Brother Andre', did not have an easy life. He knew first-hand the scars of poverty and unemployment. He was the eighth of ten children. When his mother Clothilde died of tuberculosis, he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle. At eighteen he went to the United States to look for work. He returned to Canada in 1867 and began to work at the parish of Saint Cesaire. There he met Father Andre’ Provencal, the parish priest, a devoutly spiritual man who would play an important role in Alfred’s life.

Father Provencal recognized aspirations for the religious life in the young Alfred . In his early years, Alfred had developed a love of prayer and a deep devotion to St. Joseph, thanks to the influence of his mother. The words Jesus, Mary and Joseph were never far from his lips and heart. As an adult he said that he often remembered the feel of the rosary beads while his mother prayed the rosary. Alfred was not an academically bright student, but he loved to be involved in the activities of parish life. It was only because of Father Provencal’s strong support that Alfred was admitted to Notre-Dame College.

College admission was the first step in joining the Congregation of the Holy Cross. There he took the name Brother Andre' because of his love and respect for Fr. Provencal. At this time, he also became the porter for the Congregation. He continued to perform that service for forty years, until the end of his life. Father Provencal highly recommended to those in charge at Notre-Dame College to admit Brother Andre’. His words were very auspicious, “I’m sending you a saint…” Who would have known that these prophetic words would in time, and with God’s grace, become true?

Brother Andre’ understood people because of his love of St. Joseph and above all of his love for God. He listened to the poor and rich, the educated and the uneducated, the young and the old because he was not a proud man. For those in our secular culture who think that religion belongs to the past, Brother Andre’s faith and the millions who have sought and will continue to seek his help, is a living testament to the importance of God and the belief in the value human life. Yes, many miracles were credited to him, but he constantly reminded those who were healed that he was not responsible; he was merely the intermediary between St. Joseph and God.

Originally to honor St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mount Royal was constructed. Today, St. Joseph’s Oratory is one the world’s largest. Two million pilgrims and tourists visit St. Joseph’s Oratory every year. Millions more will be making the pilgrimage now that Brother Andre has been made a saint. Why all these pilgrims? Why his sainthood now? I think, it’s to give Canada the all-important message to not abandon God and to not turn its back on its religious history and the respect for life. Christians and non-Christians are always attracted to the great mystery of the workings of the Holy Spirit in virtuous men like Brother Andre’. Their powerful connection to the transcendent attracts people to them because they have found and lived the true meaning of life: to love life, to love your neighbour and above all to love the Creator of us all. Canada today needs to look at Brother Andre’s exemplary Christian life and try to learn from it in order to move into the future with hope and truth.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rosary: The Marathon of Prayers

Today's entry is the third and last entry in a series of postings for "October:  Month of The Rosary."  If you are new to this type of prayer, I hope this entry will encourage you to discover this beautiful devotion.  For those that have not consistently prayed the entire Rosary of late, I hope this entry will encourage you to rediscover your Rosary Devotion.

The Rosary is a serious daily commitment, one that requires a focussed effort.  Very much like a marathon, the Rosary cannot be something one endeavors to embark on without having properly trained for it.  Much in the same way as one begins to train for a marathon by running only a couple of miles and eventually building upon that, so too must the same approach be taken with the Rosary.  Praying only the daily required mysteries, approximately 30 minutes of your time, would be that "couple of miles" of initial training.  Once that is firmly established, one can begin to think of adding another set of mysteries.  This cycle would be repeated until all four sets of mysteries (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful & Glorious) become inclusive in your daily recitation of the Rosary.

Although the minimum requirement for the Rosary Devotion, is to recite only the daily required mysteries (one of the four sets mentioned above), the faithful are encouraged to pray the entire Rosary.  Saint Louis De Montfort in his book, The Secret of The Rosary, under the Forty-Seventh Rose:  Proper Dispositions, states that when our Blessed Mother gave the Holy Rosary to St. Dominic, she ordered him to "say it every day and to get others to say it daily."

If you are new to the Rosary Devotion the thought of praying all four sets of mysteries can seem like a daunting task, but there is a way to achieve this without taking away from any of your daily responsibilities.  Reciting the Rosary does not require that you pray it all at once.  It is recommended that it be broken up into four parts throughout your day.  Praying the entire Rosary in one session would be too burdensome and not lend itself to praying enthusiastically, all the while meditating on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the life of our Blessed Mother.

Breaking up the Rosary even further into decades is also an option to consider should your schedule be as such that you do not have time for the complete recitation of one of the four sets of mysteries.   You could begin reciting one decade and another at a different time until gradually you complete the entire mystery. You repeat the procedure until you have prayed all the mysteires.   The times for doing this throughout your day could be:  commuting to and from work, riding an elevator, on the subway, while walking, and any other opportune time that presents itself. Eventually, as you strive to pray the entire Rosary, you will discover more "opportune moments" throughout your day.  For those that lead very busy lives, this can be considered a spiritual strategy throughout your day so that before you go to sleep at night, you have successfully recited  the entire Rosary!  The goal, is to recite the entire Rosary devoutly and faithfully each and every day and thus, successfully complete the marathon, a marathon of grace.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Rosary: A Brief Introduction and History

Today's posting is the second entry in a series of postings for "October, Month of The Rosary."

In particular, today's entry is dedicated to those Catholics who are unfamiliar with the Rosary or know very little about it.  I hope that my concise introduction and history will afford Catholic visitors to our blog, the opportunity to learn about the Rosary, this beautiful gift from Heaven!

The Rosary was given to us in the year 1214 by St. Dominic who received it from Our Blessed Mother, to convert the Albigensian heretics in Southern France. Saint Dominic understood the gravity of sinners and how they were hindrance to the conversion of the Albigensians, so he withdrew into the forest near Toulouse to pray unceasingly for three days and nights, weeping and inflicting harsh penances upon himself to appease God's anger.  The penances were so extreme that St. Dominic fell into a coma and it was at this point that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him with three angels.  Our Blessed Mother informed St. Dominic that the best weapon in this type of warfare, that the Holy Trinity wanted him to use to reform the world, was the Angelic Salutation.  Mary instructed St. Dominic, "If you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."

At this point St. Dominic arose, comforted and burning with zeal for the conversion of people in his district that he headed straight for the cathedral to preach on the Holy Rosary.  Saint Dominic did so in such a fervent and compelling manner, that almost all of the people of Toulouse embraced the Rosary and renounced their false beliefs.  In a very short time a great improvement was seen in the town as people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.

St. Louis De Montfort, another of Our Blessed Mother's instruments, revealed the importance of the Rosary in his special dedicated book, The Secret of The Rosary.  St. Louis De Montfort endeavors to bring home to the reader, in a simple and straight forward manner, the authentic message of the Rosary, that it is a "veritable school of Christian life."  The Secret of The Rosary, written almost two and a half centuries ago, contains everything that can be said about the Rosary, about its content, form, its real worth, and the necessary instruction for its appreciation and use.  The Secret of The Rosary will bring to the reader not only a better understanding of the Rosary as a prayer, but especially as a way of spiritual life.

For St. Louis De Montfort, the Rosary was not only a method of prayer, but like St. Dominic, an effective tool and weapon in his apostolic work.  Saint Louis De Montfort preached the Rosary in and out of season, established it in every parish where he gave a mission and judged the fruits of the mission by the subsequent perseverance of its recitation.  Saint Louis De Montfort knew there was no limit to the power of the Rosary and to it he attributed much of his success with the conversion of sinners, as he is quoted as saying, "Let me but place my Rosary around a sinner's neck...and he will not escape me."

As history has shown, the Rosary was used in particular by the Dominicans at a difficult time for the Church, a time when heresy was wide spread.  With all the difficult challenges we face today, let us too have recourse to the Rosary with the same trust, confidence and faith with those who have gone before us!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October: Month of The Rosary

Today’s blog entry is but a friendly reminder to our fellow Catholics, that October is the Month of The Rosary.  It is the first in a series of postings this month on the Rosary.

For many of you, this is but a slight reinforcement to your already strong Rosary Devotion, others a much needed reminder and yet for others, a new awareness. Regardless of where you fit into any of these categories, I hope you will always pray the Rosary, devoutly and faithfully each and everyday of your life! The benefits and rewards are many.

A little bit of history on why October is the month of the Rosary. Tradition holds that October is celebrated as the month of the Rosary. This began in 1571 after the victory of the Catholic League (an alliance of Spain, Venice, the Papal States, Genoa, Savoy and Malta) over the forces of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottomans were seeking to take over Italy in an effort to move into the heart of Europe. Prior to the battle that was to take place, Pope Pius V prayed the Rosary, asking for Our Lady’s intercession in victory. Every man on board the ships carried a Rosary. On October 7, 1571 the Catholic League defeated the Ottoman forces at Lepanto. Upon return, Pope Pius V declared a feast for Our Lady of Victory and a procession followed at St. Peter’s Square.

In time, the month of the October became associated with the Rosary. In 1884, Pope Leo XIII officially established October as the “Month of the Rosary.” In his encyclical, Superiore Anno, he decreed, “...We therefore decree and make order that from the 1st of October to the 2nd of November following in all the parish churches, in all public churches dedicated to the Mother of God, or in such as are appointed by the Ordinary, five decades at least of the Rosary be recited, together with the Litany...” October is the month to return to a more devout praying of the Rosary. It is a month to become more generous in our quantity of Rosary prayer.

The beauty and significance of the Rosary is captured in many sources, by many individuals and saints. I would like to conclude this entry with a quote from Servant of God Pope John Paul II, from his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, when he states:

“The Rosary of the Virgin Mary is a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian is also necessary to recall that the spiritual life is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. Christians, while they are called to prayer in common, must also go to their own rooms and pray to their Father in secret (Mt 6:6); indeed, according to the teaching of the Apostle, they must pray without ceasing (1Thes 5:17). The Rosary, in its own particular way, is part of this varied panorama of ‘ceaseless’ prayer...” (1,13)

Below are a few resources on the Rosary: