North American Coverage Downplays Priest’s Warnings

NEW YORK, January 2, 2002 (LSN.ca) - In early December, Rome’s official exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, warned parents against the Harry Potter book series. The priest, who is also the president of the International Association of Exorcists, said Satan is behind the works. In an interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Rev. Amorth said “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.”

The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art”. He noted that the 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.” 

In the interview which was published in papers across Europe, Rev. Amorth also criticized the disordered morality presented in Rowling’s works, noting that they suggest that rules can be contravened and lying is justified when they work to one’s benefit.

Of note, the North American coverage of Rev. Amorth’s warnings about Potter significantly downplayed the warnings. The New York Times coverage by Melinda Henneberger which was carried in Canada’s National Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and on Yahoo Daily News left out most of the information in the European coverage which is quoted above. It only quoted Rev. Amorth as saying that “If children can see the movie with their parents, it’s not all bad.” The Times report also fails to mention that the movie version has significantly cleaned up Harry’s image, making it less troublesome than the books.

See the coverage by the New York Times and the Italian coverage from Gazetta di Modena: