NEW YORK, November 22, 2001 ( – As the Harry Potter craze sweeps the planet with the recent release of the Potter film, several articles have been published presenting compelling arguments against the suitability of the series for children. The current issue of Envoy magazine, a respected Catholic publication, carries a feature article by Toni Collins who presents arguments on the dangers of the books.

Collins, who has read the Potter books and has experimented with witchcraft, notes that of the commentators who supported the Potter books, “virtually none of them had ever experienced the occult” but “almost every commentator I read who had experience with the occult found the books disturbing, almost as if they were primers on witchcraft.” In her article, Collins quotes former practicing witch (New Age healer) and now Catholic convert, Clare McGrath Merkle who recognizes in the Potter books real occult teachings and practices. In her own article Merkle points out that Potter author Rowling has “more than cursory familiarity with the occult.” She points out that one character is named Vablatsky, an obvious play on the name of Madame Blavatsky, one of the founders of the Satanic theosophist movement. Moreover, the books refer to a class in “Transfiguration” which indicates a familiarity with the “New Age” belief in stages of enlightenment, including that of “transfiguration”.

Collins presents an intellectually challenging argument to all fans of Potter who are Christians, of which there are many, she says: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church states unequivocally: “All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. The Church for her part warns the faithful against it” (2117). This is strong language in the catechism, the same language used to condemn lust, fornication, and abortion. Catholics cannot in good conscience take such a warning lightly. If Harry were using lust, fornication, or abortion to save his friends at Hogwarts, would we still think these books were acceptable children’s fare?”

Links to the Collins and Merkle articles:

Those links and more articles and links can be found on LifeSite’s Harry Potter page: