News Flash! Christian Content in Harry Potter!

The Telegraph (UK) reports today that a Benedictine monk has discovered that there is edifying Christian meaning in Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter stories and has written a book to explore the parallels with C. S. Lewis’ work and how magic is ethically neutral at Hogwarts.

The keeper quotation: “They are full of Christian themes of love and sacrifice.”

Who knew!? Hats off to the newcomer, Fr. Luke of Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wright. And a hat tip to David G., for sharing this link with all of us.


  1. So glad that this news has made it to the level of the Telegraph for general distribution. Unfortunately, I could not get the link to work for the article so I cannot assess the level of reporting.

  2. I reloaded the embedded url, David; see if it works now.

    Or just read this:

    Benedictine monk publishes ‘Christian reading’ of Harry Potter

    Harry Potter may seem like an unlikely read for a Benedictine monk, but Father Luke Bell has turned his attention to the young wizard to write a book of his own.

    Published: 8:55AM GMT 30 Oct 2009

    Monk publishes ‘Christian reading’ of Harry Potter

    Father Luke Bell of Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight has spent the last 12 months writing Baptising Harry Potter: A Christian Reading of Harry Potter, due to be published internationally next year.

    Some Christians have condemned JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, accusing them of promoting witchcraft and paganism, but Fr Luke said his studies highlighted their strong references to Christian principles.

    “I was hooked on the books since reading the first one.

    “I do not think there is any intelligent view out there that says these books are evil. They are the sort of objections that come from people who have not read them.

    “What are they suggesting we do, ban everyone who turns up at a children’s party to do a few tricks,” said Fr Luke.

    “I don’t feel at all that the books were leading children away from Christian spirituality.

    “They are full of Christian themes of love and sacrifice,” he said.

    In the book he draws comparisons between the use of magic to the use of technology in the real world.

    “There is a parallel with some of the writing of CS Lewis, however he generally associated magic with evil. In the Harry Potter books there are many things that are shown as magic, but they translate to technology we have in the real world that can be used for good or evil,” said Fr Luke.

    He began writing the book last year, but said that the research had taken around ten years and there could be follow-ups to this project in the future.

  3. Hmm, I note that this seems very straightforward in the reporting. And I note that this astute fellow thinks the link between magic and technology obvious as well. I do wonder though if he has but a candle and a quill pen and inkpot to write with so he’s sympathetic to the whole wizarding world?

  4. I saw this a week ago. I yawned and moved on.

  5. Sounds similar to some things a certain Potter Pundit has said numerous times for quite some time. 🙂

  6. Hmmm, yes, I do seem to remember hearing some of this before. Oh wait – we’ve all been saying the same thing for a very long time, thanks to John and to our own reading.

    While this doesn’t seem to offer anything new, I’m always happy to hear that more people see beyond the magic to the deeper themes in the HP books. Maybe if the non-reading critics hear it from enough different people they will finally decide to read the books or, at the very least, stop spreading lies about what is in the Harry Potter books.

  7. Emily Strand says

    It’s good to hear another Roman Catholic voice sounding about Christian themes in HP… leave it to a Benedictine!

  8. Arabella Figg says

    Although not a Catholic, I echo Emily’s comment. Hopefully this will blunt the impact of the hostile Canadian Catholic group falsely claiming the Pope decries HP. Perhaps many devout Catholics will be able to “discover” Harry for the first time.

    If only he knew of your books, John (and Travis). However, a pointed HT to Fr. Luke Bell.

  9. John, the reloaded url worked fine.

    I’m with Arabella and Emily in their comments relating to the Catholic element to the story and also to the fact this came through the Telegraph UK, which rarely touches a story related toward Christianity these days.

    That this book is coming from a minister in the Benedictine order will perhaps indeed change some of the negative perceptions of those in the Catholic community toward Harry Potter.

    Who knows ? Perhaps Fr. Luke will join us one day on the HP conference circuit as a speaker along side the Potter Pundits.

  10. Since I have found that JKR uses a lot of Dracula notes in her work, that should be a huge sign to anyone who is Catholic, since Bram Stoker was writing about the sacraments being used to defeat Dracula, the demon. Good thing this man is on the up and up and fair minded enough to write it down and share the truth.

  11. It always makes me chuckle to see this kind of news written up as “news.” On the other hand, I’m with y’all (of course). The more the merrier when it comes to intelligent discussion of HP! And it might be very interesting to hear the particular take of a Benedictine on the series. I wonder if he delves at all in the community aspect of Hogwarts.

  12. Arabella Figg says

    Perhaps Fr. Luke is isolated from the kind of news we take for granted on things pop cultural. So for him these really are original insights, and he’s unaware of the previous work on them. If so, his having the same insights and conclusions is a cause for rejoicing and encouragement, in that people of faith may now reconsider the books they previously rejected, for the wrong reasons.

    I would definitely like to read his book.

  13. Ditto Arabella Figg – I was waiting for a charitable and truly Christian response to this news. It makes me happy it was you who wrote it.

  14. If so, his having the same insights and conclusions is a cause for rejoicing and encouragement, in that people of faith may now reconsider the books they previously rejected, for the wrong reasons.

    Agreed. But it should also be noted that it’s the responsibility of a person publishing a scholarly work to be familiar with the work that’s already been done. So I’m interested in his book, his work, etc., and I’m just as interested in his works cited.

  15. Father Luke Bell says

    Readers may like to know that my book (Baptising Harry Potter: A Christian Reading of Harry Potter – published by HiddenSpring, an imprint of Paulist Press) is out this summer. Paulist Press will be happy to give details.

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