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Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, yesterday claimed the Harry Potter stories could lead children into Satanism.
"There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books," Father Amorth said. "You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil."
The Harry Potter series of books and movies are immensely popular with children all over the world.
Father Amorth must surely be familiar with Satan; he has carried out more than 3,000 exorcisms since 1986 (that's one every other day or so for over nineteen years!). He's probably on a first-name basis with ol' Beelzebub after that many face-to-face meetings. He warns: "By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil."
There are five types of diabolical activity, according to Father Gabriele: possession, oppression, obsession, infestation and subjugation. (The list has that Jesse Jackson rhythm-rhyme rap sound to it, doesn't it?) Apparently, most of the beneficiaries of Amorth's exorcisms are brought by their distressed families; it's not like the possessed, oppressed, obsessed, infested, subjugated victim is gonna walk in on his or her own.
Gyles Brandreth wrote in a 2001 interview with Amorth:
I speak with the Devil every day," he says, grinning like a benevolent gargoyle. "I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years."
While he sees the world as being a toy of Satan, other kind-hearted souls seek to help Father Amorth come to terms with his own obsession. AstrologyWeekly.com has cast his astrological chart for him. The planet Pluto, representing the Underworld and Evil Things, as well as an astrological element known as the Black Sun, features prominently in his natal chart. "The chart embodies Father Gabriele Amarth's continual fight with the devils through the T-square in fixed signs, which is also the main motivational force," the website writes.
Father Gabriele has written at least two books chronicling his adventures in demonopathy, An Exorcist Tells His Story, and An Exorcist: More Stories. He is also president-for-life of the International Association of Exorcists.
Pope Benedict XVI is no fan of Harry Potter, either. Three years ago while Prefect of the Congregation for Faith and Doctrine (the Inquisition), then-Cardinal Ratzinger said the character of Harry Potter is a bad influence on children because the stories contained "seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly."
There's just something kinda creepy about priests using the words "seduction" and "children" in the same sentence.
Video: Strange happenings during the filming of "The Exorcist"
Harry Potter | Exorcism | Gabriele Amorth | Satanism | Magick | Pope Benedict | Vatican | Catholicism | Devil