Fun with Harry
There is no better way to start my reply to Frans Camilleri's article (July 1) than to do it with great fun or, at least, with a great desire to seek it if the fun he implies at the beginning of his article is real.
If we are convinced that sin has become fun, there may be several of us who will have to rectify parts of their life fundamentally so as to start enjoying it more.
What a pity it must be for all those pious creatures who spend their lives persevering to move away from a lifestyle which they feel has been nothing but sinful and in the long term destructive. Certainly, as I do not know the author, I cannot imply that he has such a shallow experience of life that he seriously can equate fun with sin!
And now for some further fun talk! I wonder what fun the parents of those children who had been abused by some paedophile, who may have derived great fun from his sexual activity, must have felt. Or consider the fun experienced by the wife or husband whose partner left them after so many years of marriage merely to venture into a more exciting and pleasurable fun situation, which enhanced their sexual activities.
And maybe also worth considering is the maybe-not-such-great fun derived from the gossip which brought the life of its victim to shambles. And yes, why not, how about the fun that must have been felt by that mother whose son was killed. All this just to ensure that we understand what fun sin begets us all, considering that sin, in general, is fun.
If this is the way society has started looking at itself, then we really have arrived at a pitiful low state of our being.
But let me move away from this towards the whole issue of the article. Considering that Mr Camilleri wished to compare the fun element of many sins to the fun element of occult, we may find a way to reflect on that, but I suggest that first we put everything in proper perspective.
If J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books were targeted towards a mature audience of adults who are considered responsible for their behaviour, then Mr Camilleri's point that Harry Potter's books "are simply books, entertaining fantasies" would suit me fine and, bar the first part of what I write, I would stop here.
However, the deceit of the whole issue implied by Harry Potter's defenders about the tales being mere morality stories loses its face when we all realise that this culture, for it has now become a culture, is directed towards children between the age of eight and 12. Any psychologist may confirm that at this age a child is still in a state of formation and for that reason he experiences culture in a very different way than adults do. The child has not learned the art of discriminating what to absorb, for he is still learning.
So at this point we may do well to take a quick glance at what essentially are the points from Harry Potter's books and films which could possibly effect a child in its mind forming years.
The books and films make children believe that "white magic", so long as it is used against evil, makes the user a hero. (I direct this towards all Christian readers - there is no magic, white or black, which in its nature is good and does not go against what we believe in).
There is a universal allure to have hidden power over things and persons... here it is highlighted (even though it seems frivolous) either in the ability to create a love potion or to get an enemy to throw up frogs.
The books and films offer many hidden innuendos, which are strongly related to the occult and Satanism, such as divination, time travel, and many others.
The power to win evil is here entrusted to an orphan. (Just as an aside I wish to share with all Christian parents: Christianity teaches that only Jesus has power over evil.)
The role of authority and good is reverted in the stories.
The bad become the family who do not want Harry to attend the witchcraft school.
The children at the college have greater power towards crashing evil than the adults (the tutors).
What should concern us is the fact that the children that are being targeted are at an age that precedes the highly sensitive adolescence. Do we not already feel the effects which our youngsters experience in their quest for new things of pleasure and excitement?
Do we really have to encourage them to enjoy this new occult culture when most of us do not have any idea of what its effects are? How responsible is it for anybody to claim that, at least, these books have helped Christianity by helping many to believe in the supernatural?
Considering that the great percentage of this island's population is Catholic, I would wish to refer to what the Catholic religion has to say on the matter. That is just in case, due to lack of knowledge, certain parents do not know that their promotion of this culture is as sinful as promoting promiscuity in their adolescent children.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2117, states: "All practices of magic and sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. The Church for her part warns the faithful against it".
And as an indication to the non-practising Catholic who still says s/he believes in God and Jesus, the Bible in Deuteronomy 18:10-12, says: "... anyone who practises divination, a soothsayer or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord."
In my experience, I have encountered young adolescents as well as adults who have tampered with the occult in their search to confirm that the supernatural exists.
I wonder if those parents who seriously love their children would wish their child to suffer the effects of the negative side of the supernatural. Certainly not all those who have exposed themselves to the supernatural have attributed what they suffered as a consequence to their involvement in the occult. And some may as well not have had the same consequences. But the reality is that some do.
I would dare add that probably the children who are most attracted to these phenomena are those who are most vulnerable due to rejection, trauma or are for any reason emotionally unstable. Yet, it would be very pretentious for anybody to predetermine which children are vulnerable and those who are not.
Finally, considering that Mr Camilleri acknowledges the existence of the supernatural, and that like myself he calls himself a Christian, then we both know that the supernatural does not only refer to that which is of God and the angels but, as in the subject we are discussing, also to that which is of Satan and evil.
If the Bible warns us against the occult, witchcraft, sorcery, fortune telling and so on, then it must mean that these are not of God but of Satan, as I do not believe that there exists a third force. For anybody with a contrasting view on what is of God and of Satan, I would add: why would God warn us against what is from Him?
As Mr Camilleri acknowledges the existence of the supernatural, so certainly he accepts the existence of Satan. I am aware that many parents are faced with many people - including priests, teachers and psychologists - who discount not only the extent of Satan's influence upon human affairs but the existence of Satan himself. If there is no Satan then certainly there exists no harm in a little magic or sorcery and our children could indulge in reading Harry Potter.
Fr Gabriele Amorth, the world's best known exorcist, clearly states in his best-selling book An Exorcist Tells His Story (Ignatius Press, 1990): "Those modern theologians who identify Satan with the abstract idea of evil are completely mistaken," and he knows from experience that the devil really exists. "That is true heresy; that is, it is openly in contrast with the Bible, the Fathers and the Magisterium of the Church." And, he adds, it is obvious that this belief facilitates the work of the rebellious angels.
This is not a fundamentalist approach. I am not saying that suddenly society will turn into a place where everybody will seek the occult, witchcraft, New Age or Satanism after Harry Potter's books and films. But if the culture we are feeding our children is the cult of the occult, witchcraft, Satanism, and so forth, then in 10 years' time we need not be surprised that such cults would be deeply ingrained in our every day lives affecting our existence.
And so while Ms Rowling's bank account keeps getting inflated, let us all hope we will not be the culprits of any future negative effects derived from the occult or Satanism, having condoned the hysteria which has affected our children in this era of Harry Potter's phenomena.