In God’s creation, there exist two modes of reality blended together. There is the physical realm and the non-physical or metaphysical realm. In Biblical terms, we call the non-physical element the spiritual realm. The spiritual world is the mysterious avenue that some have access to while others, for whatever reason, do not. In this spiritual realm, there is a great war between good and evil. St. Paul refers to this battle as “spiritual warfare” (Eph. 6:10-20).
There does, however, remain a disconnect as most people tend to write-off this vivid description of spiritual combat. Your typical Joe on the street likely envisions that this evil world in which a devil and demons exist is pure make-believe. According to a Georgetown University study, only 17% of Catholics view Satan as a living presence in the world despite St. Peter’s warning to be vigilant while the devil is roaming around seeking souls to devour (1Peter 5:8-9). Indeed, CS Lewis once mentioned the devil’s greatest accomplishment is to convince us that he doesn’t exist.
Why the average person might roll their eyes at the idea of spiritual warfare, experts in this area caution that failure to acknowledge this battle is detrimental to one’s soul.
Spiritual warfare is a battle in which demonic entities are hopelessly trying to take down God’s creation in subtle, crafty ways. Jesus, himself acknowledge the existence of the devil and so too did his apostles. Jesus called the devil “the enemy” (Matt. 13:39), “the evil one” (Matt. 13:38), “the prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:31), “the father of lies,” and “a murder” (John 8:44). He said that he saw him “fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18), that “evil men are his sons,” (Matt. 13:38) and that “eternal fire is prepared for him” (Matthew 25:41). We also have to remind people that Scripture cautions us that the devil is a “tempter” (Matt. 4:3), is “wiley” (Ephesians 6: 11), that he “fashions himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor.11:14), that he is “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9, 20: 3,8,10) and most importantly for our analysis that he blinds the minds of unbelievers so they can’t make him out (2 Cor. 4:4). Paul’s warning is one way we can understand how some people are blind as bat in grasping what is going on in the spiritual world.
In spiritual warfare, demonic ideas are attempting to sneak into our lives in a sly, innocent way just like in Genesis when the serpent used clever marketing tactics to dupe Adam and Eve away from God.
A children’s fantasy book about wizards, witches, and spells may on the surface seem harmless. Many concerned parents think otherwise. According to the American Library Association, the Harry Potter series topped the list of the nation’s most frequently challenged books for two years in a row.
Since the Harry Potter books came out in the late 90s, they’ve received a vast following, interest, as well as controversy. In Catholic circles, there have been some who have cautioned that these books are not so innocent and are, in fact, one of those avenues in which a demonic source attempts to sneak into a young person’s mind. Now, when people hear this, they typically write it off as nonsense. However, before we casually dismiss the Harry Potter-demonic connection, we first need to back up so we can take a broader look at what we can know about the spiritual realm and who to trust when we hear claims of demonic influence.
Your average person typically discredits any spiritual advice in which they don’t physically see or understand by their own intuition. However, this logic doesn’t hold if we dig below the surface. Just because we don’t comprehend something with our senses doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Our human senses are incredibly unreliable at picking up physical reality much less spiritual reality. Right now the earth is moving around the sun at a velocity of 66,600 mph yet we don’t feel this with our senses. There are countless ways in which our senses deceive us of what is transpiring in physical reality. For example, there is what scientists call then McGurk effect in which your eyes hear words that are not being spoken.
In fact, only 4% of all matter and energy in the universe is detectable by modern science. Of that 4%, less than 1% is detected by your human senses. So, 99.99999% of all physical reality cannot be picked up by our limited human senses. We are only talking about physical reality at this stage. With the demonic, we are talking about the harder to detect spiritual reality. Are you telling me that your flawed human senses can pick up more on the spiritual dimension than you can on the physical dimension? Not only that, your ability to “grasp” the spiritual dimension overrides what Jesus and his priests warn us about how the demonic operate.
This doesn’t mean you should believe anything because your senses are flawed. What it does mean is that it’s wise to put your trust into those that have experience and access in the spiritual world. Here, we now come to a unique group of individuals who have encountered this demonic world and have received extensive training on it. I’m talking about the elite team of Catholic priests known as exorcists.
In the Bible, Jesus performed numerous exorcisms as it reads, “he cast out many demons” (Mark 1: 29-34, see also Matthew 8:16, 8:28-34, Luke 4:41). Jesus later passed on his exorcism authority to his priest predecessors (see Luke 10: 1, 17-19). Therefore, the rite of exorcism goes back to Jesus and the priests he appointed. These exorcists hold great sway and knowledge on what is going on in the demonic world more so than any other priest much less layperson. Given this, it is now curious to see what exorcists have to say about the Harry Potter matter.
The two most renown exorcists, Fr. Chad Ripperger and the late Fr. Amorth, in fact, give dire warnings about reading these books. That is, in the books are a demonic formula hidden behind the banner of witchcraft, spells, magic, packaged together in a story that seems harmless.
In this YouTube video, Father Chad Ripperger lays out a few eye-opening facts about Harry Potter books. First, people should be aware that even though J. K. Rowling denies that she’s a witch, she went to “witch school” before writing the books, he said, which could explain why so many of the spells in the books are real spells.
“How do we know that? Well, witches tell us they’re real,” Ripperger said. In fact, a former witch candidly wrote, “The Harry Potter books are training manual for the occult.”
Personally speaking, Ripperger has had to exorcise three children who all read the Harry Potter books. Other exorcists have told Ripperger that as many as 60 percent of the names in the Potter books are the names of demons who have been exorcized out of people. Ripperger is personally familiar with a case of possession in which a person was possessed by five demons who claim they were the spirits who inspired J. K. Rowling to write the books.
In the book, Harry learns new words such as “Azkaban”, “Circe”, “Draco”, “Erised”, “Hermes”, and “Slytherin.” All of these are names of demons and not characters of fiction. Therefore, by reading these materials, many millions of young people are learning to get to know demons by name and understand how they operate.
What Ripperger’ suggests is that demons are looking for glory. One of the ways that they receive glory is to have their name pronounced over and over. So, if a person keeps referring to a demon they are actually giving honor to them. And the more glory you give to a demon, the more that demon can attach himself to you. The key to this attachment is to know that repeating words binds you to those words you have said.
It’s critical to grasp that words are a description of reality. God speaks creation into existence and God gives man the ability through the tongue of words to invoke the reality of the words onto him. Throughout Scripture, there are many instances that show how human words are powerful in affecting reality (see 1 Peter 3: 10, Proverbs 12:13-14, 15:4, 17:27-28, 21:23, Ephesians 4:29, James 3: 5-12, Matthew 15:11, Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 18: 20-21). The Bible also cautions that misuse of words will lead to your own demise.
As Proverbs declares, “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul” (Proverbs 18: 6-7)
In short, your words bind you to the real meaning and source of those words. If the words come from a Divine source, then repeating those words (ex. reciting the rosary), is incredibly helpful. However, if the words come from a demonic source, then repeating those words is highly problematic as you would then be opening yourself to a demonic message. This demonic message then infiltrates your mind and becomes your underlying philosophy of life. Here, you now become governed by a false source that teaches you to obsess over power and pleasure in which the self determines his own meaning all the while doing whatever he wants for his personal “gratification.”
Besides Fr. Ripperger, the former lead exorcist at the Vatican, Fr. Gabrielle Amorth, had strong words against Harry Potter. Amorth stated “In Harry Potter, the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” Amorth went on to warn, “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of darkness, the devil.” Amorth explains that J.K. Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic otherwise known as “the satanic art.” Here, he cautions that these books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction “does not exist because magic is always a turn to the devil.”
Why does magic point to the devil? Isn’t magic harmless? Here, we come to the crux of the matter. The word “magic” defined in the dictionary as, “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” For our purposes here we’ll focus on the phrase “by using mysterious or supernatural forces” [more properly defined as preternatural powers]. In other words, what is the source of your ability to influence reality? Where did you get this power from? And what message does this source communicate? In magic, the source is always demonic.
A subtle message that keeps arising in the Harry Potter books is, there is no difference between black and white magic – all magic is good as long as you do it for good things. Well, the Bible and the Church call bluff on this because both indicate that all forms of magic are demonic (see CCC 2116-2117). Behind every demonic sign, the message is a lie (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Scripture repeatedly warns against any manner of magic. In Deuteronomy (18:9-12) there is a passage in which enchanting divination, charms, consulting with familiar spirits, or a wizard, a necromancer, are described as an “abomination” in the eyes of God, and must be driven out. There exist numerous other passages forbidding the practice of witchcraft and wizardry, or consultation with mediums or diviners (see Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27; Isaiah 8:19, 19:3; Galatians 5:19-21; and in Revelation 21:8).
We also have the scene in Exodus when God turned Moses’s staff into a snake. To combat this, Pharaoh had his sorcerers change their staffs into snakes. Nevertheless, Moses and Aaron’s staff swallowed the Pharaoh’s staff in this spiritual battle (see Exodus 7:8-12). This scene articulates that when God acts to mysteriously alter reality it is called a miracle, but when the devil acts to alter reality it is called magic. In the clash between miracles and magic, miracles always win. Miracles are a real reality anchored in truth while magic uses allusion to deceive – anchored in lies. Moreover, God promises grace and grace doesn’t give power for selfish purposes. Whereas the devil promises power to raise the self up on his own to greater heights.
Even those that study the occult see the demonic connection with Harry Potter. Author Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age and Caryl Matrisciana, author of Gods of the New Age both warn of the serious problems with Harry Potter. Caryl was involved in new age practices for some time herself before her conversion. She goes on to state,
“J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has gone through an awful lot of research. She is very accurate. This is a true representation of witchcraft, and the black arts, and black magic. And yet we have people that say this is merely fantasy and harmless reading for our children. Actually, what makes this more dangerous is that it is couched in fantasy language, and children’s literature, and made to be humorous, and beautifully written and extremely provocative reading. and it just opens up children to want to have the next one. This is what is so harmful.”
In fact, a former Satanist William Schnoebelen points out in his book, Wicca, Satan’s Little White Lie, that, “I finally learned in the most graphic fashion imaginable that the difference between witchcraft or Wicca and Satanism is actually non-existent.” In other words, witchcraft and the demonic are one-and-the same.
Some of the specific demonic elements in the story include the use of the “Potter” name in Pagan religion, shapechanging (Harry’s father appears as a horned god), human sacrifice, feminine power, the spells and curses used in witchcraft, communicating with the spirit world, reincarnation, situation ethics, the lightning bolt as a power symbol, broomsticks and witches’ hats as phallic symbols, dabbling in divination and sorcery, and more. What’s also alarming in the story, is that ordinary folks are typified as being corrupted because they have no magical powers while the real heroes are those that use the secret knowledge in the occult.
The Harry Potter story is actually the twisting of the Catholic faith. Human sacrifice is brought up several times in the Potter series. Lord Voldemort, Harry’s archenemy, takes a vile of blood from Harry in book number four in order to have the blood run through his own veins in order that he can be resurrected and have a body.
Obtaining power is another central theme in the story. Harry is always being encouraged to concentrate hard enough and he can have what he wants. In this, a theme emerges in the story that if you learn certain words, you can have power. However, Jesus cautions not to just cite words so one can get power. He refers to this as “babble of the pagans” (see Matthew 6:7). The key question again is – What is the source of these words you’re chanting and concentrating on? Indeed, it is good to recite certain words in prayer and concentrate at the Mass. But, in the Catholic setting the formula which you are a part of comes from a Divine source – not so you can selfishly gain power for your own advantage, but so you can attach yourself to God, clean out your soul to attain your fulfillment. And your fulfillment isn’t in the form of power of the self (self-worship) but comes when you lose your self for the sake of others (see Matthew 10:39)
In Harry Potter, children believe that this make-believe world of fantasy and magic subconsciously tells them that the mysterious forbidden fantasy of secret power is cool and rewarding. This idea of presenting kids with the demonic world as visually appealing and fun continues in our culture. Disney is coming out with a cartoon that depicts a “demon town” as fun and interesting. The more parents allow these crafty messages into their kids psyche, the more their kids get drawn into a dark place. Here, they are unknowingly opening the door to the spiritual world of the occult, often leading to destructive patterns of sexual promiscuity, drug use, depression, etc.
While most people view the idea that spells in Harry Potter envoke demonic results as “mumbo jumbo” those who study the demonic for a living think otherwise. As Fr. Ripperger mentions on the Harry Potter books, “All the other exorcists I know that are experienced, are very clear, stay away from it.”
I place trust in those unique priests that Jesus gave the power to perform exorcisms. All agree to stay away from Harry Potter. Enough said for me and my family. Want to protect our vulnerable kids – shield them from this demonic story. It’ll be worth it in the end.