Exorcist: Stay Away from Harry Potter

From the Women of Grace weblog post about this priest’s claims (e.g., that Rowling “went to ‘witch school’ before writing the books,” that “60 percent of the names in the Potter books are the names of demons who have been booted out of people,” that “there is something diabolic about the whole thing,” etc.):

It’s very difficult to argue with exorcists who have first-hand knowledge of the demonic. They don’t have the luxury of hiding behind the excuses that we often erect about these books, such as how “everyone else is reading them,” and how “they’re in our school library!” and how such-and-such said they’re okay. Instead, they must confront the reality of evil and can attest to the fact that demons are regularly destroying lives as a result of the trivialization of the occult in our time.

Regardless of what the prevailing culture has to say, let us humble ourselves and learn from those whom God has appointed to keep us safe from evil.



  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Not having followed the link, nor viewed the video, yet, I cannot properly discuss, but I’d be interested in convenient reliable lists of all “of the names in the Potter books”, as something that struck me was all the saint’s names, especially in non-‘Pure-Blood’-minded families (though ‘Regulus’ there is a delightfully ironic – or, indeed, Providential-defeated-ironic – example , given St. Regulus, Feast 17 October). The questions then include, was this deliberate on JKR’s part? Did she simply delight in the thought that St. Nymphodora (Feast variously 10 & 23 September) was a heroic martyr and St. Hermione (Feast 4 September) the daughter of St. Philip and prophetess as well as non-mercenary physician and martyr? Did she, instead, cynically enjoy the thought that some Christians would notice and delight in the possibility? What-all (if anything) has she explicitly said about saint’s and character’s names?

    More generally, I wonder how much it is a matter of ‘abusus usum non tollet’ (which I think I first encountered in Tolkien’s On Fairy-stories)? I’ve long seen all sorts of occultistic attempts to cash in on HP. But is the ‘matter’ of the books either on the whole or in certain particulars either culpably conducive to that or part of a “trivialization of the occult in our time”?

    More generally in another direction, must one beware of the dangers of (so to put it) ‘exorkistesolatry’, even as of, say, ‘papolatry’, precisely with an eye to the due respecting of people and offices?

  2. Although this topic is unfortunately being presented as an “either/or” situation on the blog (and I know the folks who run this blog), I see it more as a “both/and.”
    I agree that for many families that are not properly formed in the Christian tradition, and who do not discuss and point out the Christian rootedness of the world of Hogwarts, then I can see how the HP books could be an entry point for some into the occult.
    However, for families that do discuss and point out the Christian underpinnings and rootedness of the stories, they become an entry point into a deeper and richer appreciation of the different senses of story and deeper levels of knowledge.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I’ve started reading Aren Roukema’s recent book on Williams’s fiction, Esotericism and Narrative: The Occult Fiction of Charles Williams (Leidn:Brill, 2018), and found another interesting quotation (to put it mildly) for an ‘exam format’ call to “Discuss”:

    “Granholm notes the near impossibility of separating actual from artificial forms of esoteric expression and advises that it is best to do away with assumptions that a cultural product may not reflect serious esoteric expression because it is an artistic creation.” (p. 15: Kennet Granholm, “Ritual Black Metal: Popular Music as Occult Mediation and Practice,”
    Correspondences 1, no. 1 (2013): 8.) – !

  4. Mary Hathaway says

    I was coming here in the hopes that you could address this more, John. Are the spells in Harry Potter actual curses? When Harry Potter was published, the hidden evil behavior of so many clergy in the Catholic church was being revealed. Harry Potter seems to address this phenomenon which is not new by any stretch. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels. I was not versed in iconographic literary analysis at that point, but now I know a little more. My husband and I use Harry Potter as an example to our children of how to be cautious with any figure of authority, regardless of what they claim to believe. We also used it as an example of what kind of authority figures are worthy of obedience. If anyone has read the casefiles of children abused by Catholic religious, you would appreciate what I mean about the importance of teaching your kids to use your intuition in judging. I can see why a school might be cautious about just having Harry Potter on the shelf, but perhaps if they had students read your books first before reading the actual novels, it might help. To my mind, being able to have a conversation about Harry Potter and what great books they are with teens, and then gradually talking about the anagogical meaning and surprising a teenager who may have had no idea and using that common bond to explain Jesus and the church is such an excellent opportunity for evangelization.

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