Discerning – and Rejecting – the Occult

Michael the angel

Michael Brown, who runs the well-known Spirit Daily website, wrote as well-balanced a piece as I have ever read on the occult and dangerous mysticism at his site today. It is both concise and comprehensive. I urge you to print it out and save it.

I have been wearied of both extremes Brown writes about. On the one hand are those who see the work of the devil behind every rock. I was at a conference once where the organizers went through three single-spaced pages of things to denounce. The even denounced the ‘Power Rangers’ (kids cartoon) as the work of the devil. Thankfully, Flintstone Vitamins are still okay (though they have probably been denounced somewhere, too). This is a problem for so many reasons. First, it makes us all look silly and banal. Second, it completely obscures that Christianity is NOT a faith that cowers behind bushes trying to hide from satan, but evangelized the world and conquered him. Third, it subtly undermines the solid principle that satan is powerless before Christ. If we take hold of Him and don’t let loose, satan has no power over us. Obsess over what to ‘renounce’ and you may easily delude yourself that it is by your cleverness that satan is thwarted rather than by Christ’s power – thus defeating and upending the purpose of the renunciations in the first place.

But there is the other extreme – trying to baptize what are, actually occult practices. New Age Mysticism, Centering Prayer, Yoga – there is no Christian variety of any of these – and they are always a call to commune with spirits that are not from God.

Years ago, Brown and I agreed to disagree on the Harry Potter series. He gives his take in the article – though with the marvelous balance he shows throughout – candidly explains there is another take on it.

I think the Potter series is one of the greatest epic tales of good versus evil ever penned – and solid Christian allegory in the process. They use the title of witches in the books, but these are not witches in the Biblical definition. Biblical witches call on dark forces as the source of their power. In the Potter series, all the witches are magical creatures – magical by nature rather than by calling on dark forces. They are no different than the magical creatures in other marvelous Christian allegory of the last century.

It is unfortunate that they are called witches. I have no doubt Brown is right in quoting a survey that showed one in eight people reading the series showed an increased interest in Wicca, or witchcraft. I suspect that most well-balanced readers get, instead, a greater resolve to live self-sacrificial love, but all good things can be misused. I regard all the efforts to find ‘secret codes’ in the Bible as a dangerous form of occultism, with no connection to actual exegesis.

But this piece is one of the finest things Michael Brown has ever written – and he has written a lot of good things. Read it, print it out, use it. It will save you a lot of trouble and spare you a lot of grief.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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75 Responses to Discerning – and Rejecting – the Occult

  1. An excellent piece; just finished reading it myself. 🙂

    But I feel I must throw a strong word of agreement in with Michael Brown on Harry Potter. There is nothing benign about the witchcraft depicted in that series; much of what J.K. Rowling drew on in writing those books literally was from formal occult rituals. It is important for us to take magic, sorcery, and divination very seriously. I think many Catholics approve of Harry Potter because they don’t really believe in magic; hence they think it a legitimately neutral topic upon which to build a fictional story to use to teach a good lesson (like space ships, or talking animals). But that could not be further from the truth. We must recall the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2117, which says in part “All practices of magic or 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.” Magic and sorcery are very real (the Catechism doesn’t condemn fake things). They are also intrinsically, gravely evil.

    So in other words, the whole Harry Potter series is fundamentally centered around the notion that something that the Catholic Church teaches is an intrinsic grave evil (magic/sorcery) can be used for good (“Harry Potter uses magic and sorcery for good, Voldemort uses it for evil.”) But the notion that an intrinsic evil can be used for good is always Satan’s ultimate deception. I feel that promoting or defending the Harry Potter series simply because one can take away from it messages of good vs. evil or sacrificial love (of course, let us remember, Dumbledore’s death wasn’t sacrificial love… it was suicide/euthanasia) makes about as much sense as promoting a homosexual love story (e.g. Brokeback Mountain) for the same reason, which no Catholic in his right mind would do.

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    • charliej373 says:

      The fundamental issue, Dan, is whether as described in series it describes ‘intrinsic evil.’ The intrinsic evil Christianity describes as witchcraft involves invoking spirits to derive power. Witches in the Potter series do NOT do that. They are either magical by nature or they are not – they cannot summon spirits to make them magical.

      If in fantasy literature you condemn all magic as intrinsically evil, you must reject both Tolkien and Lewis as well – both beloved Christian allegorists. If you do reject them, I credit you with consistency, even though you are still wrong.

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      • Elizabeth K. says:

        I agree with you, Charlie, on the Harry Potter issue, and I think to condemn the magical in literature is to profoundly misunderstand its variety of uses in literature. As you point out, the HP series in the line of great fantasy works from England, and imho must be read in that context. It recalls George McDonald, or even something like The Secret Garden, where “magic” is the word the children use for something they don’t understand: the source of life and goodness that renews them. Also, while I don’t think this is Rowling’s intention, the magical world has always worked, for me, as an analogy for the suppressed Catholic world in England. The names, references, etc., recall the alchemists, etc., we see in early modern British literature, a world that was suddenly and violently converted on the whim of Henry VIII. There are so many fun parallels–the special school for the magical, the way the world remains hidden but vibrant within the larger culture, the way the magical world discerns and fights real evil, and understands that there’s more than meets the eye. . .something Tolkien also “got,” as an English Catholic whose mother was rejected by her family when she converted.

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        • charliej373 says:

          Fascinating take, Elizabeth! I never thought of it, though I have studied the brutal religious wars in England and Ireland after the Reformation – and particularly after Henry VIII formed the Anglican Church and began persecuting and martyring Catholics who would not convert. One of the most common charges was that Catholics – or “papists” – were superstitious, actually practicing magic and witchcraft that had to be completely rooted out of the Empire. Many Catholics publicly “converted” while continuing to practice their Catholicism in secret. It never occurred to me how evocative the hidden society within a society theme could resonate historically with Catholics on the two isles – Britain and Ireland. Thanks for the insight.

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          • Elizabeth K. says:

            Yes! And if you recall, early in the series there’s discussion of how the “magical” world was rejected by the Muggle world, which moved towards empiricism and materialism while the magical one retains its connection to a medieval worldview. I’m reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with one of my classes right now, and it reminded me of this conversation. Certainly magic is a huge part of Arthurian romance, yet Arthurian romance (especially SGGK) invokes the liturgical calendar, a Christian worldview, Marian devotion, etc. to make meaning. (Sorry–I’m obviously a literature geek and love to talk about this stuff!)

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    • Pawel F says:

      I would be cautious with Harry Potter too. It is easily and eagerly read by a very young population. My nephew got HP books as a First Communion gift at the age of eight and could not stop reading them. I don’t blame the books for making my nephew an atheist but a danger could be that HP influences/targets not only teens but very young kids in the first place. First Communion kids may be too volnurable to distance themselves from HP magic world which can easily overshadow Jesus Christ coming in the Holy Communion. Isn’t Jesus a bore vs Harry Potter for an eight-year-old? Plus the HP movies are quite a horror, it was shocking to see parents bring 5 year olds to such a scary experience. Horrors make me laugh but those kids were crying and that is a problem. Something may be good for you or me but it could be a harm for a very young mind. HP may be a good allegory of fight between good and evil for teens but not for eight year old or younger kids that don’t even know what an allegory is and take all/most things seriously.

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      • That strikes me as an odd First Communion gift to give. I agree with you that the books, and definitely the movies, are not for a very young audience. I don’t mind my (mature-minded) 10 year old reading them if she wishes, but I would want to be reading them concurrently and discussing them with her. I was strongly drawn to the occult as a teenager and so I’m inclined to be cautious but I did enjoy the HP series and thought there was much good in it.

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    • donna269 says:

      Charlie, completely agree on CS Lewis….thinking The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe here….the Screwtape Letters with Satan’s nephew (Uncle Screwtape)…..it’s just an allegory for good vs evil. And as you say, the Lord of the Rings series….another allegory for good and evil. Have never read Harry Potter but don’t have any problems with wanting to read the series.

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      • Janet says:

        Donna many years ago I got a copy of the Screwtape Letters and when I opened the book, I felt this intense RAGE directed at me! Somebody was not happy and trying very hard to get me to put it down. I prayed one Our Father and the culprit went away. As I read the book I knew why he was not happy. That book is a real Christian treasure!

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  2. The Catechism in paragraph 2117 clearly and expressly condemns “ALL” practices of magic and sorcery, not merely that subset of them that “”invoke spirits to derive power”

    Both Tolkien and Lewis (In the Lord of the Rings and Narnia, respectively) do an excellent job revealing the true nature of magic as an evil. In both series, those who use magic are the bad guys. The good guys do not venture into that. Gandalf provides a few exceptions to this, but those are rare, and even by his own admission in the LotR books, he says that such methods should not be used.

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    • charliej373 says:

      You misrepresent the Tolkien books, in particular, Daniel. Gandalf frequently used magic – the white. His allies also frequently used magic. Simply put, for any who have doubts, read the Lord of the Rings series. In the Narnia series, magic is used bu both good and evil sides as well. Santa Claus, himself, gives the children magical tokens that they use in critical moments.

      Using the literary device of magic in fantasy literature is NOT using magic, so your quoting of the Catechism is simply a distraction. The Vatican Newspaper reviewed the Potter series favorably here. I doubt that will satisfy you. But at a press conference on the Vatican’s release of a handbook on occult mysticism and the New Age, both priests – one who had helped draft the document – spoke favorably of the series and that it was not a problem. Over the years, many have argued for the Vatican to condemn the series – but it never has – and usually has spoken favorably of the values it inculcates. Perhaps the best summation is here, printed after the series was finished.

      There is no condemnation, despite frequent requests for it to be done. Instead, when spokesmen have mentioned it at all, it has mostly been in a favorable light. Because of that, we are free to assess it as we will. You are perfectly free to reject it and argue for that. But it goes a biut too far to say definitively that is contrary to the Catechism and such – when the actual interpreters of the Catechism refuse to do that.

      I regard it as one of the best epic tales of good versus evil ever written. We will just have to agree to disagree on this.

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      • The closest thing to a Magisterial statement on Harry Potter (And I am sure there never will be a real one) was this, when Ratzinger spoke against it as head of the CDF shortly before becoming the Pope: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-benedict-opposes-harry-potter-novels The Vatican Newspaper has spoken highly of all sorts of modern filth; e.g. “The Simpsons,” and plenty of others. Certainly nothing Magisterial in the least about what is published in that.

        I am sorry you see me citing the Catechism as a “distraction.” I have proven that the Magisterium condemns ALL magic as an intrinsic grave evil (of the worst kind, by the way — for it is an offense against religion.) You are claiming that the magic in Harry Potter isn’t magic. That’s the claim that needs to be backed up, not mine.

        I have read both the Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series and despite a few exceptions (a couple of which you note) the general sense of those novels is VERY against magic. I have also read most of the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter, on the other hand, is entirely pro-magic… as long as you’re using “good” magic (which doesn’t exist.)

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        • charliej373 says:

          Daniel, I do not dismiss the Catechism. I say to use it to condemn using magic as also a condemnation of magic as a literary device is a bridge further than any in authority have gone. As Gaetano Vallini said in his final review, “… they certainly have understood that magic is only a narrative pretext useful in the battle against an unrealistic search for immortality.”.

          You have made your point. I have made mine. I am perfectly happy for readers to side either way.

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          • Fair enough, Charlie. But I will simply close by (first of all, saying that I do highly regard you still, no matter your Harry Potter views) imploring you for consistency. The magic Harry Potter is based on is clearly substantially identical to the magic condemned by the Magisterium (*they. cast. spells. as their job.* — the good guys we are supposed to look up to); if something condemned as an intrinsic grave evil is still a legitimate basis for a good story, then do not be partial in the application of such a viewpoint — condone Brokeback Mountain, Obvious Child (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obvious_Child), The Twilight Series, 50 Shades of Grey, etc. Many Catholics do, for that very reason — I just do not think you fit well in *that* group of Catholics!

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          • charliej373 says:

            Also fair enough, Daniel. As you know, I find much of worth on your excellent blog. I am not familiar with Obvious Child. But I completely condemn Brokeback Mountain, The execrable Twilight Series, and 50 Shades of Grey. They do not use literary devices to propound Godly themes: they use literary devices to promote ungodly disorders. The substance of my take is that the Potter series does NOT belong here.

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  3. Audie says:

    I had read this piece today. After reading many of your posts, Charlie, and the comments these past couple of weeks, it amazes me how my questions are answered by you and the community or I find bits of my life in different areas here. You are all teaching me on my way after being ‘astray’ before coming back to the Church. I am very familiar with the occult, as I was involved in yoga, was a reiki ‘master’, into all the abundance and prosperity thinking, channeling, etc. I was also very popular and everyone wanted to be near me. That is pompous and arrogant, I know. Since leaving that, I lost many ‘friends’, invitations to many events, and even family relationships, but thank God, He wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought I was happy, but now see the Truth. I now have peace. Just in time to see, with your help, what is enfolding in the world. I am being humbled, which isn’t all that fun, yet am beginning to feel somewhat clean. These things of the occult are attractive and appear harmless, hooking one into believing he or she is helping others, which, in my arrogance truly believed. It also made me feel control and powerful. In the end, they fail. Sorry so long.

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  4. Janet says:

    Whenever I hear of a convert, it builds my hope, so thank you for sharing that Audie. My question is why did you leave? I have quite a few people in my life who are on that path and they are not at a point where they would listen to my reasons why they should run the other way. Is it a matter of waiting it out? What should we do who are watching loved ones skip merrily down the wrong path? Of course prayer and fasting are a given, but I often wonder what more I could be doing. I wait, I pray, and I trust.

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    • Audie says:

      Thank you, Janet. I left because my life became very dark. What I thought was good had turned on me and I could see it for what it was, thanks be to God. There were little whispers and signs along the way that made me think of Jesus, like being visited by two sisters from Mother Therese’s community, which seemed odd, as I lived on an island in the Caribbean. They were kind and mild, and just chatted briefly with me, but gave me a holy card, which I had loved receiving as a child. No judgment or sermons, just love. As I kept on in my dark life, events became more dangerous and I knew God had been very patient with me. When I began the process of cleaning out the new age books, my reiki table, crystals, etc., I met resistance…from my husband! He had loved the reiki, but now I believe that people just want to be touched and loved in general (not sexually). When I first came back to the Church, in Texas, I contacted a spiritual director whose name I found in the bulletin. Our second and last meeting, she revealed to me that she was a reiki practitioner!! I burst out laughing, because I could not believe it. She said it was good because the nuns had taught it to her. So, I asked the priest about it, without naming the woman, and he said he didn’t know what reiki was. It was discouraging and confusing for me, as a new convert. What can we do about our loved ones involved in all this? I believe, like Charlie and you say, we can be the sign of hope and joy for them. Simple kindness is very powerful. Believe me, I went through some depression coming out of this junk and so that was not too attractive to others! Thank you and Charlie, as you’ve been part of the process for me to see the Light. And, I do believe that as the storm grows more violent, people are going to want more than a crystal or the “universe” to help them out.

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      • charliej373 says:

        Ain’t that the truth, Audie? People will find out soon enough that a crystal is just a pretty rock.

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      • ann says:

        Thank you Audie for sharing your story. I’m pretty sure anyone who has been involved in the New Age/Occult and by the grace of God is set free, has a kind of inner sense, a charism even, to detect it even when it is pleasantly disguised–kind of like a broken bone that heals stronger and then aches when rain comes (knowing before anyone else that there is going to be a change in the weather)Although Janet didn’t ask for my input, I offer it as further info from someone who’s been there. I have to say in all honesty I believe what set me free was the Blessed Mother, my Guardian Angel and my mother’s prayers. My dramatic release began my journey back to the faith. Now I have a son who is in all of this and it is such a sadness on my heart but I keep remembering my mother’s prayers and the powerful intercession of Mary (St John Vianney tells us to ask Mary to offer the Father the crucified Body of Jesus for our intention-he says it is the most powerful prayer we can pray) So I do, and I invoke the Angels, I have Masses said for my loved ones especially for cleansing of the family ancestry because I do think these spirits attach to families; I pray all the time for the deliverance of loved ones(I have a cousin who is in this for many years) and I keep trusting trusting trusting in the power, mercy and goodness of God Who will set them free. (that is easier said than done sometimes)
        For what it’s worth Charlie, I have a definite “aching bone” where Harry Potter is concerned. God bless.

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        • charliej373 says:

          People who have suffered something intense before the Storm will be uniquely qualified to help people who suffer from the same thing during the Storm.

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          • Audie says:

            This is good to hear, Charlie, because I’ve wondered now how in the world can I help anyone else when I don’t seem to have any special gifts, or even practical skills. I guess these things will be made known to me if I survive the storm.

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        • Audie says:

          I appreciate what you wrote, Ann. I have a son who is searching and has touched on these new age ideas. But, I’ve been praying for both my sons in this regard and I am seeing little changes in them. I have great hope for them. I consecrate them to Mary before my daily rosaries and then let it go. I am also very fond of St. Monica. I have a question for you. Did you experience a profound distrust of people when you first got out of the new age/occult? I also lost a lot of love for others, but all that is coming back now, but in a more “normal” way.

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  5. Catharine Innerst says:

    I do very much disagree with you on this one. The argument here is too narrow.
    Tolkien intentionally places his story in a pre-Christian world that tends toward Christianity. C. S Lewis’ Aslan speaks of “Deep Magic” that is the synonym for the Divine or Supernatural. The Potter stories take place in a Christian world and pulls the reader in a non-Christian direction with a desire to manipulate nature for selfish purposes . It is the camel’s nose under the tent and has lead to the intense fascination with zombies and vampires. Michael O’Brien is great on this. Please see his article,
    “Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children’s Culture” (http://catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0088.html) and his book, A Landscape with Dragons. Both are excellent, and he precisely describes the difference between neo-pagan and Christian literature for children. There is more to it than simply good verses evil.

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    • charliej373 says:

      And in the Harry Potter series they frequently refer to the Christian God, to whom they submit. The celebration of Christmas is a highlight in almost every book. The last book goes completely overt with the Christian imagery and Scriptural quotes.

      I shared much of the concern on this until I actually read them. I know a normally reliable site, Lifesitenews, continually analyzes the books while clearly never having read them – as it gets so many basic facts wrong.

      I do not begrudge anyone rejecting the series. But I consider it an absolute classic – not just of good vs. evil – but of Christian allegory. Some may dismiss me because of that. If they do, that is okay. But I will not join in a condemnation just because people I value think that is what I should do to fit in. I did not make my judgment lightly.

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  6. charliej373 says:

    Friends, I am going to scale back on the commentary turning this into a debate over the merit of the Harry Potter series. Many good people want to stay away from it – and I fully respect that. I think many have been steered away from a classic tale because of a hair-trigger reaction to it.

    But the biggest thing I want to avoid is to condemn or support something just because that is what all people “like us” do. That is a pharisaical attitude. So I figured you should know how I feel about it. It can play a part in your discernment of my authenticity.

    If someone comes up with something new or a unique, insightful take on the matter – positive or negative – I will put it up. But there is very serious matter to be considered from Brown’s article – and I would do a disservice to it if I just allowed this to be about a single series of books.

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    • MM Bev says:

      I found Michael Brown’s article insightful and well balanced….and certainly worth running off to retain. I’ve also found the comments following this entry interesting as well. In my experience, the Harry Potter books appealed to a younger set of fans than Tolkien books. It is certainly true that an upturn in “magic and witch” fantasy books took an upturn in bookstores and libraries during and following their publication. That, however, didn’t have anything to do with Rowling’s books. It was strictly commercialism.
      I am happy to see this discussion, because it presents both sides. The one thing I have not seen mentioned is that parents who involve themselves with their children and the books they read, even if when they are older and read on their own, leading to a joint discussion, have an opportunity to provide wisdom and guidance that is always necessary. Even if the material is an Nature Study Book, the sharing of the experience and the joy of learning is a valuable lesson. Books were almost always included among the Christmas gifts, which meant the joy of that celebration was extended into the new year. I think that Jenn’s comment regarding ours being a post Christian world is so true and so powerful and overwhelming, that it makes “Harry Potter” almost antiquated in comparison. Compared to when my own children were younger, it’s almost overwhelming to realize what young parents have to struggle against today. How mightily the light, gifts and power of the Holy Spirit is needed by all of us, but especially them as they battle against strong cultural odds to bring their children up in the faith.

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    • Stephen Maresch says:

      I have to agree with you Charlie although I never saw the fascination with the Potter series we did allow our kids to read the first book but like all things parents are supposed to be guides for our children and help them and guide them. Lets face it as our kids go through life they are going to run up against much worse things than a book about magic and its our job as parents to lead, not just let them read it in vacuum. I remember when the twilight series came out as a youth teacher and catchiest I needed to watch the series so I could speak intelligently on the matter, because its all my students were talking about. Once I watched it I allowed my young teen daughters to watch it with me and we discussed it’s theological problems after as a family. I also have meddlesome family members who think that if you watch a program or read a book that has demonic or witch craft overtones that you are inviting the devil in. So we had to fight that battle as well. Nothing can be farther from the truth, if that was the case then reading Saint Teresa and her mystical experiences with the devil should be off limits and any other Saints experience. Daniel I think you are missing what the catechism is saying when it says the practice of such things is evil, reading or viewing it is not the same thing. We Christians are supposed to go and do battle in the world, how can we do that if we don’t ever read the play book of the adversary? You cannot put your kids off in a castle and keep them from the world but you can be there to guide them, and give them the tools to over come evil.

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  7. Bonnie C says:

    Thank you for this Charlie. My Phys Ed teacher taught us a yoga-like relaxation technique in the 1970’s! Once. I never forgot it. My granddaughters are currently doing Yoga exercises in the mornings at their public school so they can “focus and concentrate”. The eldest granddaughter showed me how they stretched and “channeled” (whatever it was) in elementary school while the instructor, over the PA system told the children to,”feel the power”. The parents do nothing. I wrote a letter. That was said to have stopped. Year before last, somewhat off-subject, they were about to have cross-dressing day. Teachers, too. This mother of two, now adult boys, realized this was about the boys, more than the girls, who wear jeans, etc. to school anyway. Thank goodness, it didn’t happen, parents put a stop to it. I wrote a blistering letter to the superintendent. Also, the elementary school has “pajama day”. Maybe I’m a stick in the mud, but to me it’s an attack on the innocence and what I would consider inherent modesty of children. To me, Mommy and Daddy and siblings see us in our PJ’s, not classmates and teachers. Sorry getting off subject here. Venting I guess. Unfortunately, “Yoga” is a benign subject to the parents. A debate about Yoga exercises in school is comparable to your argument about Harry Potter. They don’t see the threat. They think it’s ” healthy”. Not taking sides, here. I’m on the fence. Never cared to read them. Thank you for sharing the article.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Oh you’re right, Bonnie. Parents are under siege today – and its roots go too far back. I was elected to a school board when I was 21. (We had eight building and 5,000 students. Getting a “kid” elected sometimes happened so I was not heady about that. But I was mighty proud to have been elected president for two terms beginning at 23 – only your fellow board members select officers – and “kids” did not routinely get that honor). I was first elected in 1977 – and even then started seeing disturbing things being proposed. We have now gone full tilt – where good is treated as evil (or “intolerance”) and evil treated as good (or “sophistication”).

      You have people actively trying to instill social values that are contrary to Christian and American values. In the 70s, the state was robbing districts of all but the illusion of local control by tying ever more grants to ever more mandates. A profusion of innocent new social programs was being propounded. I suggested in 1979 – to my board and at larger conferences – that these were all nice, but it was taking our focus away from our mission – which was to educate children – and I did not think we were doing that nearly as well as we should. I thought if it continued, matters would continue to decline. Well, that was the necessary foundation for creating the situation now where a regressive elite, hostile to both Christian and American values, dictates such things contrary to the wishes of parents, while trying to soothe them that it is all completely innocent.

      When you see such things, raise cain!

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  8. aj says:

    Interesting positions on both sides…one of my main concerns was that Rowling admitted to her research of witchcraft and spells in order to write the book and more dangerously used actual spells in the book “that people actually used to believe in Britain”. To me that is a big no entry sign. Maybe there’s more explanation to her statement but just as in yoga, innocent practice of occult opens ports to demonic interference…at least.

    These discussions are very healthy in teaching discernment. Let us pray for The HOLY SPIRIT to give us wisdom, knowledge and truth as we try to help each other take the next right step in the journey of holiness.

    Again I repeat the words of St. John Cantius “fight all error, but do it with kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.” So let us not forget to be charitable in our “arguments”.

    Blessings and Love. JESUS I Trust in You!

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    • charliej373 says:

      A.J., I would be interested if you could provide links to something directly quoting her. I have noted with interest over the years that most of the reviews condemning the series reveal pretty quickly by their serial errors in describing plot lines that they have never actually read it. The positive reviewers generally have read it.

      Several books, most notably that by Richard Abanes, say that she used actual spells from Wiccan practice. But Abanes’ history, both of England and of Wicca, is abysmally wrong through most of his book.

      Several articles that have been quoted as proof of bad intent, have actually been intentional satire from the paper, “The Onion.”

      The only quote I have ever seen Rowling herself make, with verifiable attribution, is that she is a practicing Christian. All sorts of quotes attributed to her, when run down, turn out to actually come from her critics or those satirical articles I mentioned.

      Sydney Cardinal Archbishop George Pell has been an ardent supporter of the series, going so far as to recommend in his Sunday Telegraph articles how useful they can be in instilling Christian values in children.

      Like I say, I am content with wherever somebody wants to come down on how they choose to view or use them. But we must take care not to bear false witness, too, and there is an abundance of it out there against Rowling.

      For the record, her post-Potter book, The Casual Vacancy, was abysmal. I don’t know if it was condemned by the Vatican – but it should have been – on lack of literary merit alone.

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  9. SteveBC says:

    At the risk of losing my reputation here on this site and in this community, I will say a few things I consider important on this overall issue.

    First, what matters is the fruit that flows. You will know good or evil by the fruit.

    Second, I have been on “both sides of the aisle” in terms of this issue. I can absolutely assure everyone here that just as there are good and evil priests and the potential for satanic influence and even possession within the Christian tradition, there are good and evil gurus, good and evil channeled entities, and good and evil techniques for healing.

    It very much matters what *you* bring to any particular venue and the fruit of the work you choose to do and for which you bear responsibility.

    Third, in the late 1980s I dealt in great depth with a channeled entity who treated me with absolute impeccability. I am a far better person than I was before working with this entity, and my understanding of the many facets of reality that exist in beauty and truth was greatly enhanced. As an example, it was there that I grew to understand how no temporal situation is wasted insofar as the teaching of valuable spiritual lessons is concerned, with each person involved in a situation taking away from the exact same event the different individual lesson he or she most needed to learn. Each situation each of us faces every day is a multi-faceted diamond of a learning experience for every person involved. With this knowledge, I often find myself surrounded by beauty in action.

    I have come back toward Christianity for reasons unrelated to my experience with that entity. Those reasons are not relevant here in this comment.

    Fourth, I have seen great good come from many techniques that I hear being viewed with suspicion here, and I see great worry over whether family members pursuing such techniques or such teachers are always going to sink into corruption. What matters is the fruit of these in the lives of the person or people involved. If a family member is Christian but gets off track, you have a right and a duty to be concerned and to help if you can. Sometimes the only thing you can do is private prayer for this person. Likewise if a family member gets off track with a non-Christian path or teacher. However, it seems to me that it is also your duty and responsibility to be discerning and not reflexively rejecting. If they are growing and maturing, showing courage and seeing the world with greater discernment themselves, perhaps you should not worry so much about them but rather consider that they might be in good hands. Remember to discern the fruit.

    Fifth, I am a nut for science fiction and high fantasy. By and large these genres celebrate courage in the face of adversity, suffering, and evil. Although I was never much interested in the Narnia series, I *loved* Lewis’s Perelandra series, think the Lord of the Rings is one of the great pieces of moral literature ever written, and thoroughly loved the Harry Potter series (with minor issues others here have cited). In the case of the Harry Potter series, although every reader (including me) might very well have fantasized about being magic or doing magic, it has been my absolutely uniform experience in watching kids who have read the series that they gain at some deep level from being exposed to a cracking good yarn that gives them many examples of people, especially including children like them, showing courage under fire, goodness and generosity and forgiveness in everyday life, and acceptance of the new and the annoying. I would *far* rather have a child read Harry Potter books than play Grand Theft Auto, which has no outright magic in it but much inuring toward brutality and criminality.

    Finally, I will say the riskiest thing of all and that is that I am of the opinion that the Catholic Church’s doctrine in this area needs expansion somewhat and in the way it needed expansion in the days of Galileo and Christopher Columbus. I know from direct personal experience that there is another side to life and that it is filled with many people and groups and entities who have our backs and our best interests as their great spiritual work. It isn’t just angels and saints but people and groups of people who have gone on before us and who seek to help us every day. These people are almost always good and helpful, and they love you *profoundly*.

    As Pope Francis has told us to relax about gays and other social issues in order to evangelize more joyfully and effectively, debates that stress the rightness or wrongness of techniques *in general* or paths *in general* should probably be let go of. By their fruit you will know the right applications of various techniques or paths from the wrong applications of those very same techniques or paths by yourself or by people you love. This applies to books as well, to paths, and to teachers.

    Assertion of doctrine can obscure one’s ability to discern the fruit being experienced or generated by a specific person following a specific path or reading a specific book or engaging with a specific teacher. I urge everyone here to relax a bit and seek to see the actual fruit in each actual situation before making a choice to accept or reject. As the scientist J.B.S. Haldane reputedly said, “Not only is the universe stranger than you imagine, it is stranger than you *can* imagine.”

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    • Fran says:

      Respectfully, Steve, if I am understanding you correctly, I think it is very dangerous for you to promote channeling entities ,and say that your experience was that there was good fruit. This is definitively a practice that is to be rejected according to the Catholic Church. Many saints have testified that the devil would come to them as a good spirit, and sometimes they would know it was him, and other times they wouldn’t had not God shown them. So inviting a spirit through a practice rejected by God cannot bear good fruit in the end regardless of what it appears. The devil is more crafty and intelligent than we realize and can work his way in so subtly. The words that you used describing your experience with this entity like “lessons, learning, knowledge” immediately made me think of the tempter.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Steve, I thought long and hard on how to respond to this. I find your description of an encounter with a “good” channeling spirit utterly terrifying. After saying there is no such thing as a good or neutral channeling spirit, let me tell you why.

      Unfortunately I have had far more experience of this than I would like. Channeling spirits often start by persuading the subjects they would trouble that they are benign – or even friendly guides. One woman I know, more than a few years ago, had a spirit trying to seduce her into welcoming it. It would manifest physically so that even others in her home could experience it. It frequently set out a glass of tea for her when she got up in the night – and would do other little niceties. She has legitimately prophetic dreams – and got scared by one in which she saw a gentle bald man on TV who was very soothing to everyone who was watching him. In the dream I was screaming for them to get away, that this was a demon trying to seduce them. The little man didn’t even bother to deny it…just said, “Don’t pay attention to Charlie. He gets excitable about these things.” When she woke up she was terrified – primarily because she had been soothed by the demon and had been ignoring me – even though it all but admitted it was, indeed a demon.

      Soon enough the entity began to show its true face. Lights started flickering regularly, appliances would stop working or turn themselves on and off. Stools would be knocked down even in front of guests and non-believers. Overnight guests would report feeling something on top of them in the night – and wake up with mysterious scratches on them. But that was only prelude. The entity dropped all pretense and, for several months, she saw with clarity into the other world. She was in constant panic, calling me six or seven times a day. I calmed her and prayed for her deliverance (though a part of me thought – “Ha, welcome to the reality of my world. Not as much fun as you might have thought, is it?”) Finally, the window closed that let her see it, though some subdued physical manifestation continued until the house was spiritually cleared.
      I have had six or seven similar scenarios – and in about half of them, the person succumbs to the entity and doesn’t realize how malevolent it is until they are completely vested. One woman I tried to help kept arguing with me, even as slowly everything I told her would come next actually did. She was seduced because the entity promised her power. When she finally realized what it really was, she could not let go of it. Her agonized face, recognizing it was exactly what I told her it was but unable to let go of it, still haunts me at times.
      In every case, the entity starts by playing at being a friend…Casper rather than Beelzebub. And eventually the mask comes off.
      What terrifies me most about your situation, Steve, is that your entity played the friend throughout the entirety of its first series of encounters with you and then let you be. That suggests it has BIG plans for you and is going to great pains to lower your guard, to make you comfortable with it so you will more easily welcome it when it comes to use you for what it really wants. Entities use people, but always end by destroying them and enjoying it.
      I plead with you to renounce this entity and gird your loins against it through the power of Christ. You have some real talents and it wants to use them to dishearten a multitude. Claim Christ and be done with it forever.

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      • SteveBC says:

        Charlie, and to all who echo his concern for me, let me say how much I appreciate your desire to see me well and safe. It warms my heart to know this. All of you have my thanks.

        I want to make a few comments to kind of wrap things up and reassure you all that I am doing well.

        First, I am working my way back toward the Church because I see two major positives that draw me, one temporal and the other spiritual. The temporal one is that having surveyed so many different religious and spiritual traditions, I know that the Judeo-Christian tradition carried by the Church is *the* source of individual freedom and individual responsibility in the world. This is of great value now, as the ancient blood rites of the scapegoating of innocent people for the good of the collective come so much to the fore in obvious error. Second, on the spiritual side I see evidence of Jesus and Mary working actively in the world, with the Church as their focus. I am drawn to that strongly.

        I am not coming back to(ward) the Church because of fear of this channeled entity I mentioned. I dealt with this entity openly in a community of hundreds of people, and I never saw any evidence that this entity treated anyone else any less impeccably than it treated me. I did this in the late 1980s and do not follow this group now (not since 1990 or so when I realized my time there was complete), so I cannot say if it remains impeccable today. Back then, it was. Respectful discernment seems better than fear, at least in this case.

        I have been attacked by demons in the 1970s. Three times in a series over several months. First a seduction, which I refused. Second as a direct spiritual attack, which I barely survived, and third as abuse so severe I almost broke psychologically. In that last one I had a view of an entity I believe was satan, although not his face, so I have ever since been quite sure that such forces exist. Believe me when I say I have immense respect and fear for their ability to attack or suborn. I know I could never handle a continuing attack such as the one Charlie describes. I have asked God for some years now to keep me safe from any such attention. So far, He has obliged, and I pray He will continue to do so.

        I am currently seeking knowledge that can help me and through me others. I’m a scholar, so that is what I do. I am increasingly praying to Christ and Mary to show me my best way and to help me understand the world so that I can help others if they ask for my help. Charlie’s dictum of the next step is very helpful, and I have been appreciating the opportunity to participate in this budding community and read so many good posts and comments.

        My path from childhood Catholicism to current-day adult Catholicism took a very wide detour along a fascinating string of pearls that benefit me even as I return to where I was as a child. I regret none of them, and I have no cause to regret them. My return to the Church is not complete in outward form, but my respect for the Church and the tradition it safeguards is great, and my willingness to pray to and work with Jesus and Mary and the saints of the Church is increasing as I get to know them as an adult with wider experience. Unlike the apostle Thomas I have not needed (or had) a direct appearance of Jesus or Mary to me to get me to believe quite firmly that they are active in our world today. I am fascinated by what is happening, and I am sure that I am built for this time, as are all of you. The Peaceful Land is coming, and I fully intend to do my small part to help us all get there safely.

        Again, my thanks to all of you for your concern. Please be assured I am well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Well Steve, to this I will simply reply with a quote from St. Teresa of Avila: “To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray – and thus acquired experience.” May your experience be a help to the faithful.

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          • SteveBC says:

            So much of what is here on your site has been helpful to me. It would be good if my experience can be a help to others, whether that be in a cautionary or a positive way.

            Like

      • ann says:

        You offer such sound advice, Charlie! I can’t stress enough that no one ever should dabble in these so called spirits of light. Young people particularly are snared into these false kingdoms, often because they are seeking both power over their lives and some sense of transcendence. I can only repeat,I pray that those tempted to these things run from them as fast as they can, cling to Jesus, beg His Precious Blood to cover them, ask for the mantle of Mother Mary to enfold them and appeal frequently to St. Michael and their Guardian Angels. (“greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”)

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  10. Jenn says:

    No one has actually commented much on the book or authors mentioned in Brown’s blog post, so I will briefly. I read Moira Noonan’s previous book entitled “Ransomed from Darkness” a couple years ago. It is her story of how she got pulled deeply into New Age spirituality through seeking treatment after a bad accident, and the tedious process getting out, including long visits to the confessional. The book was instrumental in my own process of examining what influence the occult has had in my own life (particularly during those crazy college years!), and started me on the road to spiritual healing. When you start examining your life, you realize how many doors you have opened very easily, even inadvertently, or in the name of fun. My college sponsored palm readers and hypnotists for entertainment. We used ouiji boards at our Catholic youth group, my older cousin did seances in my grandmom’s house to scare us younger ones, I could go on… Yes, we absolutely need discernment, as we can go a little bonkers thinking there’s a demon behind everything. However, we have to remember we are living in a post-Christian world. Just look around. At least in Colorado, the ugly things people are doing to their bodies has multiplied exponentially in the past 10 years. It’s a return to the primitive, to the base nature of mere animals, not human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Combine that with behaviors which would never before be socially acceptable, the increase in pagan practices, the general degradation of what used to be considered “fine art” and culture, music and TV, and you are inviting the demonic. The important thing to remember is that we are to have no fear whatsoever because we already know who wins. Jesus is Lord! He is trustworthy and is Emmanuel-God With Us!

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    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenn. When I was in radio, occasionally I would make some tertiary comment and suddenly callers would go charging off, wildly tugging the show into a completely different direction than I imagined or intended. Heh heh…my grinning program director one day after such an event told me I had “spooked the horses” that day – and I had to be extra careful, because mine were a lively, spirited bunch to begin with.

      My poor daughter was briefly caught up in that. I was even more primitive when, visiting her in a Catholic hospital ward, I found her with a book of Wiccan spells. I went to let the administrator know someone had snuck it in – and was horrified when the administrator started explaining condescendingly to me how Wicca was good for a young girl’s confidence and that was why the hospital included it there. Hee hee…you shouldn’t justify objective error to me at all, but to do it with a condescending manner….well, let’s just say when I finished, the administrator was not in actual tears, but she agreed the book must be removed – and that I would remove it and examine the patient library for any others that might be in need of review. The hospital was shut down a few years later – financial problems. Demonic forces go where they are made welcome.

      My old program director would be delighted that, even in this format, my readers are a lively, spirited bunch.

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      • MM Bev says:

        Your removal of the book struck me as hilariously funny! The mother of my young godchildren was looking at books in the gardening section when she realized that her two young ones were extremely intrigued with the book they had….the Joy of Homosexual Sex. This was l981. She was so upset she took the book out and came over. I told her to leave it with me, and did the required (ugh) reading, filling out the review form and making an appointment with the Director of Libraries. Before the appointment, I did some photocopying, and check the list of directors of the Board. At the meeting, she explained censorship just couldn’t be allowed, and I, with great alarm, expressed to her that I would never entertain the concept of censorship. However, since adult videos and movies etc, had to be kept from the view of underage persons, I was requesting that the book be treated the same way…in a separate section, and obtained by request only. She assured me that she would bring it up at the next board meeting and took the book away from me.
        One of board members was our Mayor, who was a Mormon and a very fine man. The day before the meeting, I dropped off an envelop addressed to him and marked personal, in his home mailbox. He called me that evening. And sounded mad. I guess he was, but not at me. He said that he would ensure that the book was not where any children would ever, ever view it again. What was sad, was that last year, the current director of libraries was being interviewed and made the comment that only one book had ever been criticized and placed separately to be requested since the libraries in our city had been opened. There are certainly more books over the years that deserved the same treatment.

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      • Sign of a good blog Charlie, when your combox is lively 🙂

        Like

  11. aj says:

    Hi Charlie, the quote I used with the spells being what people in Britain used to believe was from a defender of the books quoting Rowling. Notwithstanding all that has been said, I believe that if we genuinely seek the Truth, the Lord will guide us to take the next right step.

    I may also be a tad bit out of place here, in saying that the topic seems somewhat exhausted and is now more of a distraction to the mission at hand. Feels like Peter looking at the rough deep waves and dark clouds around him and wondering if the devil is responsible for it…and there in front of him is GOD made man, JESUS. I’m going back to fixing my eyes on the one I Trust…until there’s another divide in opinion of course 🙂 hahaha.

    Have twoderful day friends, a “won”derful one isn’t good enough…:-)

    Your brother in CHRIST JESUS….GOD bless us all and may our Mummy, MARY, hug us so tightly that we feel the beat of Her heart, Her Flame of Love.

    Like

  12. charliej373 says:

    Okay, my friends, the Harry Potter comments section of this thread is now officially closed. Unless you come up with something earth-shattering in its brilliant insight, nothing more – good, bad or indifferent will be cleared on that particular matter. A few closing thoughts…

    Most of the comments I did not clear were not particularly bad – nor even did I disagree with several. Rather, they made assertions with no attempt at a foundation in logic or evidence. I asked for links or citations for assertions. I know I let a few get through – most notably the last by AJ, but the bulk of his message was so conciliatory to all I thought it ought to be aired. I have heard frequently the charge that Rowling said she used real spells, but NEVER have had anyone give me a credible citation that does not lead back to a free-swinging critic rather than her.

    This leads to the main point on why I let this go on as long as it did. We are all a product, to some extent, of the culture we swim in. Quite a few people used things they had heard – or read – somewhere, without checking the provenance of the accusation. That is common in today’s society where a smear often substitutes for an argument. We are called to take care not to bear false witness. That does not mean don’t bear false witness just against Christians or people we like, but even against people we find repulsive. We are not to bear false witness even against Adolf Hitler. When we repeat unattributed statements in a public debate, we are engaging in gossip, which is the wicked stepmother of false witness.

    When I was in media, I freely voiced the most controversial opinions, but loathed getting my facts wrong. On the occasions when I did, I went to great pains to make sure my audience heard the correction from me – and louder than the original error. (I had complete contempt for the practice of publications putting a slur in headlines and running the correction to it in small print on page 32). When running political efforts, I more thoroughly vetted things that supported our position than I did things that opposed them. After all, you are inclined to view with skeptical probing what contradicts you…but our nature is to grab onto anything that sounds supportive of what we already believe – and that is where the temptation to false witness lies. I always told candidates that while our enemies might hurt us, it was our friends who could kill us because of this. I made every staffer back up with hard checkable data everything we would use. I disciplined myself rigorously on temporal matters – because from early on, the Lord held me under stern discipline on the matter – and His rebukes are far more striking and memorable than the little embarrassment from saying I was wrong or refraining from using a delicious argument I cannot document properly. I am still nowhere near where I wish I was…I am rebuked several times each month on the matter by the Lord – usually for casually citing improper information on something on which I am right on the substance. I am thankful for it. Every rebuke God sends me now is one rebuke less I will have to suffer at the judgment.

    People instinctively turn to any club that is useful once they have decided something is bad. You can be right and still bear false witness in the process – and we all will be held to account for every instance of it. I may be wrong on Harry Potter. If so, I will have to account for that. But I have not borne false witness, either knowingly or from an excess of zeal to prove how right I am. Please, all of you, do not use mere gossip to bolster your case.

    And to what is surely the single pagan reader I have, I can’t clear your comment, but keep reading! (see me shamelessly fishing for a conversion.)

    Like

  13. Irish7 says:

    Ah yes…this writing is timely for me. I have been scrambling this week to find a new Christian preschool after discovering that the sweet orthodox conservative church one we have always used was incorporating “alphabet yoga”. I gently inquired assuming they were just borrowing the word yoga for letter or animal shaped kinesthetic learning. When I looked at the curriculum, it was the actual yoga poses designed to invite Hindu gods. To teach the alphabet! I explained my concerns and asked that my daughter be removed or even just excused for a restroom break. This escalated strangely and quickly into a meeting with the teacher, director and church pastor explaining that these positions have been baptized similar to the Easter and Christmas pagan rituals or cards and alcohol for fundamentalist Christians. Sigh. These are genuinely good and orthodox people. They looked at me as though I were a three headed fundamentalist for even raising the question. I didn’t want to add the victory of division to deception for the enemy so we agreed to disagree and left amicably.

    Like

    • kathy kalina says:

      My children are all grown now and I can clearly see many of the mistakes I made. Three sterling examples of good decisions make me weep when I think of them:

      1. When my children were small (2-8), I began a bedtime routine of sitting in the hallway outside their rooms and reading from the Hobbit all the way through the Lord of the Rings, and then started over with the Hobbit because the baby was too little to remember the first of it. I followed with the rosary, until they were all asleep. I often heard one of them repeating bits of the Hail Mary in their sleep. I feel very confident that the sense of adventure and good vs evil I can credit to dear Tolkien, and the soft place they all have in their hearts for our Blessed Mother to those thousands of rosaries. Only 50% of them practice the faith today, but I know what’s in them!
      2. I read that St. Maximillian Kolbe’s mother, a midwife who had to leave him alone at odd hours to attend the women, prayed that the Blessed Mother would make up for all of her deficiencies in raising young Max. I did the same, and remind her often of that fact!
      3. I met a family when my children were little who had grown children. All 6 of the children, and all 6 of their spouses were sterling human beings. I asked the mother how this came about and she said, “I started praying for their future spouses when they were small, that they would be protected from all the harmful things that wound a soul and makes married love difficult and painful.” I did the same. One after another, my children have brought home fabulous spouses and spouse candidates, and my heart swells, knowing that this is the person I’ve prayed for since childhood!

      I highly recommend doing these three things to protect your children from all the wiles the enemy uses to cart them away from the light.

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        Marvelous, Kathy. An example to us all; gentle and simple and profoundly fruitful.

        Like

      • Fran says:

        Kathy, I love this, and I believe it. Two of these things,I have been doing for many years for my children as well. Pray that Jesus and the Blessed Mother make up for whatever I lacked’ for mistakes I have made, and for the protection of their souls. Secondly, praying for my children’s future spouses. So far two of my six living children are married, and have chosen wonderful spouses that I love as my own. They share the same Catholic faith, and have beautiful families. The other thing that you did I just wish I had thought of! Tolkien was a favorite author in our home, so I love the idea of reading the Hobbit and LOTR before they go to sleep, and praying the rosary out loud while they drift off! What a peaceful way to end the day and send your children off to sleep. I will pass that idea on to my daughters for my grandchildren! Thank you!

        Like

      • Janet says:

        This is beautiful Kathy. Reminded me of once when someone asked me to pray for a spouse for them. I felt inspired to pray not for the “man of their dreams” but “the man of God’s dreams for them”.

        Like

      • Barbara Dore says:

        thanks, a brilliant advice!

        Like

      • Elizabeth K. says:

        I love all of these, but especially number 2. A funny story: when I met my husband, I had just returned to the Church, but was not the greatest Catholic in the world. I had a lot of kind of fuzzy, loose ideas about the faith. My husband had this picture on his dresser, of our Blessed Mother. I did not like this picture. It represented everything to me that was unsophisticated and a little embarrassing (I thought) in our faith. My husband had won this picture as a child, and took it with him everywhere–literally everywhere. When we married, there it was, in all of its unsophisticated glory and weird blue background. For a while, I thought of hiding it. Then I just got used to it. And then a while ago, round about when I was getting ready to start my second Marian consecration and was looking at the multiple images of the Blessed Mother I have in my little sacred corner, I laughed; She’s been there the whole time of course, as the picture represents, blessing my marriage even when I wasn’t thinking much about it. I love that picture now. It’s still on the dresser, a quiet reminder of the true blessing our marriage has been and continues to me, going on twenty years now. (And for the record, I never rejected the Blessed Mother herself, but it’s very true that she has become a much more important part of my prayer life in the past few years!)

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  14. Diane Mello says:

    …preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.…2 Timothy 4:3

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  15. jackie berg says:

    Okay, I am going to make an exception here. Jackie brings to bear a criticism that is well-documented and relies solely on reliable sources – and she comes from a new angle. I don’t concur with her final evaluation, but she breaks fresh ground in a solid way that deserves to be heard – Charlie

    Dear Charlie, It is of no mind to me if you publish this- I simply want to give you some food for thought- an aid in discernment of the Harry Potter books- and it does matter- kids are reading them- so endorsement of them is simply an excuse for others to quiet the Holy Spirit’s warnings against reading them. I have 4 grown kids who were given these books at a Catholic school to read- at the very least an imprudent move- and if you go by the FRUITS and we all should- there is cause for concern- especially when -“with a wink and a proud smile” one of the main characters was publically and with much fanfare- touted as GAY- you can find this everywhere- it was in 2007- and revisited in interviews in 2013- I agree with you on wanting hard evidence- and here it is – including her twitter comments- just a couple from 2007 and one from 2013- to me it says that this is all subtly leaning in the wrong direction-I have no desire to slander or criticize anyone- but you are in a public arena- and I have tried to tell my family to stay away from the books- as you know- satan likes to give a subtle twist to things- and some similar stories can be OK-like Lord of the RIngs- and some aren’t.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/jk-rowling-defends-gay-character-tweet-ex-fan – this is where someone was mocked for not liking it-

    Dumbledore was gay, JK tells amazed fans -http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/oct/21/film.books

    And heres one from an interview with GAY STAR NEWS-
    JK Rowling: I miss the gay character from Harry Potter most of all British author has spoken on the 15th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone 28 August 2013 | By Joe Morgan British writer JK Rowling has revealed she misses the only gay character from the Harry Potter series most of all. The author has said the ‘hardest’ for her to leave was headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Speaking about the character to US publishers Scholastic, played by the late Richard Harris and then Michael Gambon in the film series, she said: ‘I feel like I wrote Dumbledore from the back of my head. ‘Sometimes he said things and told Harry things that I only knew I knew or believed until…I saw that I had written them down in the voice of Dumbledore. ‘He was the character who was hardest to leave for me. He was the person who I’d have come back physically and sit and talk to me. It would be Dumbledore.’ When asked who she would introduce Dumbledore to if she had the chance, she said: ‘I’m afraid I’m going to be very selfish, and if anyone gets a shot, it’s me. ‘It’s a difficult question and I have mulled it over at length, and I’ve considered world leaders who may benefit from some of his calm wisdom, but finally decided there’s really only one person who should meet Dumbledore and I think that’s me. ‘Because, of all the other characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s the one I miss the most.’ The author revealed Dumbledore’s sexuality after all seven books were published, although there were hints throughout the novels. ‘Dumbledore is gay,’ she said, adding she was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago. ‘I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy.’ Rowling is marking the 15th anniversary of the fantasy series, one of the most successful in history. – See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/jk-rowling-i-miss-gay-character-harry-potter-most-all280813#sthash.AqduZq4s.dpuf

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    • Stephen Maresch says:

      Jackie,

      I will be repeating what I said earlier to Daniel but here goes. You get out of your Children what you put in. If they are exposed to lots of Solid Catholic reading, prayers, field trips, youth seminars, weekends, and parent involvement; and kept from allot of secular venues, schools, and just bad influences they will grow up solid Catholics and it does not matter what they read they will be able to discern the truth of the faith and see thru the deceptions of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Chris says:

    There’s a lot of comments before me which I havent read, so excuse me if this has been covered. Michael Brown quotes the authors of the new age discernment book assertion that:

    “People doing yoga do not understand that the postures themselves have an effect on the central nervous system and the endochrine system, and these postures can produce altered states of consciousness,” says the book. “It does not matter if the person is interested in Hinduism or if the person is doing this innocently as a stretching exercise. Altered states of consciousness are problematic and very dangerous.”

    This troubles me: where is the evidence that these postures produce altered states of consciousness, and implicitly negative ones at that? If I sit in the lotus position hoping to regain some of the flexibility of my youth – merely for the sake of stretching, why must I fear that I am somehow transgressing against my faith? I have heard people who I greatly respect make similar claims but never with any supportive evidence to back them up. I have been tempted to believe them simply because they are learned or well-spoken, even though it defies my own reasoning

    It seems to me somewhat superstitious to assume that by using a yoga posture for stretching and stretching only, we are endangering our faith. It is almost like fearing a devil around every nook & cranny, if I sit like this I’m safe, if I sit like that there’s danger.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Chris, I sympathize since, until a few days ago, I pretty much felt the same way. I think we get way too caught up in condemning this and that. And my instinct was, who cares how someone exercises on a mat? As long as they don’t get caught up in a mysticism attached to it, there is no danger in it.

      In any case, it is not a matter of transgressing against your faith. To do that, you have to willingly, with intent and knowledge, act to transgress. Rather, it is a matter of giving dark forces an opening to influence you. I simply won’t discourage things such as karate or acupuncture and such, so long as the mysticism that sometimes accompanies it is separated from the practice of the therapy or physical discipline. Some people had tried, for over a year and a half, to get me to remove yoga from that category and put it in the intrinsically dangerous category. A few days ago, I realized I really just knew next to nothing about it – so set to study a little on the basic points anyway. I was not pleased by what I found.

      The yoga postures in themselves are a form of prayer, designed to give tribute to certain spirits. Yoga means “yoked to god.” It is not the Christian God. I became persuaded that with yoga, unlike some martial arts and medical procedure which are sometimes linked to a mystical spirituality, the mysticism and the practice are inextricably entwined with each other. So I have come to think it best to toss it out root and branch.

      I now take that position, not to try to usurp anyone else’s conscience, but so I can give them as accurate a judgment as I can. So I do not argue that you transgress when you approach it as exercise only – any more than I transgressed when I was a young fellow and innocently went with a girlfriend who insisted on seeing a psychic for fun. I was shaken when the psychic’s mother, while I was waiting for my ‘reading,’ recognized me for a ‘prophet,’ that she knew I talked to God and was sent by God for terrible times. She said other things before I went in – but it shook me a lot. As I waited, I got very concerned that I was in a spiritual realm I did not recognize, though it seemed to recognize me. My concern was that I had unwittingly made myself vulnerable in a way it would have been better that I had not. That is my concern about yoga…that many make themselves vulnerable in a way they don’t know.

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      • Chris says:

        OK so yoga postures are, for their practicioners, connected to their worship of false gods. But I’m not sure that it necessarily follows that they are dangerous for people looking to stretch to maintain or improve flexibility. That would mean the real God allowed them to hijak certain bodily postures which now become spiritually dangerous. What then with the rainbow flag? It’s been hijacked to mean gay pride. And the crystals? I used to have a glass round one with many sides and if you put it in the window in direct sunlight, then give it a spin, a multitude of little rainbows would twirl around your kitchen – so delightful. Now, when I wanted to enjoy that simple charming pleasure my friend is adamant that I’m opening myself to dark forces (double whammy – crystals + rainbows!!!). Sheesh, what next? Should I start worrying about the clothes I buy at the thrift store in case they’re jinxed too, and what about that suspicious Starbuck’s logo??? Excuse me while I retreat back to the safety of my hidey hole.

        You might be right, but I’m not sure. I’m not an advocate of yoga, I’m just a skeptic who hasn’t yet seen enough reason to fear any stretching posture that is intended solely for flexibility, or enjoying the delights of how a glass crystal refracts light.

        If Christians can “baptise” pagan feasts or practices as some say has been done with the selection of the date for Christmas, why should we fear these things?

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        • charliej373 says:

          Well, Chris, the key for me came when I realized that the postures, themselves, are actually treated as prayers to the gods involved. You are quoting almost exactly the position I did a week ago. I have often struggled to hide my contempt at how easily spooked some Christians are by seemingly EVERYTHING. I have made the case that the whole history of Christianity is of absorbing the harmless practices of pagan and mystical practices after draining them of what is intrinsically evil in them. I have been persuaded that the practice of yoga is inseparable from its mysticism. Do I think people who use the poses for exercises are going to be suddenly seized by dark forces. Mostly not. But I think opens up vulnerability. And I am not an alarmist on these things. So I will unambiguously warn people away from them, knowing full well that many good people will continue – and hopefully most will be unmolested.

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          • Peter says:

            I must agree with you charlie, i had a friend who started with an innocent yoga book at the age of 20, in 25 he was already lost in some eastern sect – Sri Chinmoy – was their leader, they were doing some strange stuff and his parents were devastated…but after years he somehow got rid of all of it, he managed to put everything of this behind him and at 33 he has a child and a good wife… so this time a good ending, but it started innocently with a thin book….

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  17. Sue says:

    Charlie-
    Leave it to me to provide the extreme example, as ever. Some years ago, when my youngest was in junior high, she brought home a satanic bible that she had checked out from the school library. I flipped my wig, and went off on the kid for daring to bring such a thing into our home. When i grilled her about it, she claimed she was “just curious”. If it was possible to rant the curiosity out of her, I took a pretty good run at it. I commandeered the book, and took it straight back to the school first thing the next morning, with a fair amount of outrage at why this clearly inappropriate garbage was made available to impressionable children who could obtain it without their parents’ knowledge or consent, etc. The poor secretary I unloaded on agreed with me, and duly noted my concerns. To this day, almost a decade later, I do not know whether the book was removed, although I suspect not. I thought, “if that is available, what is left?!” Unfortunately, I have a pretty good idea, and it makes me mad all over again. GRRR! Sometimes it is hard to remember, as in your last post, that Our Lord “has a plan”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Hee hee, Sue. The administrator at the hospital who was going to lecture me with the benefit of her wisdom on how good “Wicca” is for youg girls self-esteem probably would have threatened to have me arrested for removing it before I calmly and quietly took her skin off. After that, she was happy to see me take it and anything else I found offensive out. (Though I do not think she would have been eager to see me for a second meeting). Officials at official institutions – including many Catholic ones – have had a nervous breakdown. They think they are being tolerant by abdicating their responsibility to protect and defend the young. God bless you – you did a little good where you could. One might say you took the next right step!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Janet says:

      Sue I was a school librarian at a public school for over 17 years, ending in 2008 when my husband accepted a job in another town. Let me tell you there were times when books that had been ordered because they were recommended for awards were quietly put in the back of a cupboard after I flipped through them! Towards the end it was getting harder and harder to stomach what the kids were clamouring for and what was available in the school library catalogues. I pray for all young people. May God save them from this wicked age–and he will! Let’s keep praying!

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    • Janet says:

      Good for you Sue. A long time ago, someone I was living with brought home a book that very sacrilegious and hideous. This person asked me to look at it and unsuspecting I opened and began to read. I immediately was repulsed and told the person this book made fun of something I considered sacred and would they please get rid of it right away. To their credit they felt bad and were quite blind to how evil the book was. They just thought it was funny. They said they would get rid of it. About a year later we were moving and so I was cleaning things out. Lo and behold I found that book! I asked this person why they did not get rid of the book when I asked them to. They said they had. Well, I threw it in the garbage myself. Later that week, I went to clean a closet, and there at the back of a top shelf was that book again! This time I tied the garbage bag and prayed as I took it out to the curb. I threw that book out 3 times! Talk about evil!

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  18. aj says:

    I said I was finished with Harry Potter but think I owe it to reader and Charlie’s request, to site the quote by Rowling:

    J.K. Rowling on The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., October 20, 1999 (re-broadcast December 24, 1999)
    Transcribed by Jimmi Thøgersen

    DR: Is there a certain amount of very sophisticated mythology that you’re trying to work in here?
    JKR: There’s – I’m not trying to work it in, but… If you’re writing a book that, I mean, I do do a certain amount of research, and folklore is quite important in the books, so where I’m mentioning a creature or a spell, that people used to believe genuinely worked – of course it didn’t – but, you know, it’s still a very picturesque and a very comical world in some ways – then I will find out exactly what the words were, and I will find out exactly what the characteristics of that creature or ghost was supposed to be. But I hope that that appears seamlessly. Children often, often ask me how much of the magic is in inverted commas “real” in the books in the sense that did anyone ever believe in this? I would say – a rough proportion – about a third of the stuff that crops up is stuff that people genuinely used to believe in Britain. Two thirds of it, though, is my invention.
    Full interview here:
    http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/1999/1299-wamu-rehm.htm

    Now I’m done, no more I hope…pray and discern.

    Love and Blessings!

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    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks for giving a solid link, AJ. I don’t find it particularly sinister – but I am glad you provided easily confirmable documentation for your arguments on the matter. I thought, with a little prodding, you would. You have a very pleasing largeness of spirit about you that shows through even in your writing. Thank you and God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Fran says:

    I think there can be a temptation to attribute something “mystical” ( whether it is either good or evil) into some things when there isn’t anything more to them than what they naturally are. I have been guilty of this too in the past, and I have known people who seem to have gone way overboard in this way, interpreting everything like this. I mean sometimes what some people see as miraculous and mystical intervention in a picture may just be a spot of light, or a black crow squawking outside your window may not mean the presence of evil, but its just a crow doing its thing. On the flip side of this, though, I think sometimes you can just have a bad feeling about something, and not have any knowledge, proof, or logical reasons for thinking there is some danger in it. You just sense it. I think parents (because of the sacrament of marriage) can discern danger in things that have to do with their children. Of course we listen to the Catholic Church and what it teaches about things that are dangerous to our souls, but some other things like books, or children’s games or cards, or people even, you may just have to go with what your heart tells you. As things get crazier, and more confusing, I think we are going to have to do a lot more of this type of discernment. It is going to get more difficult to know what the truth is. I think that is one reason why Our Lord and our Blessed Mother wish us to be so close to them.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Yes, and as we go, we should probably remember the wise words of a man not known for faith, but who tired of people over-interpreting his theories Sigmund Freud. “Sometimes a cigar is just…a cigar.”

      Like

  20. Amber says:

    Is the piece from Michael Brown still available? The link brings me to a “server error” page.

    Like

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