Friday, 4 February 2011

Wand direction

Harry Potter hasn't had an easy life. By day he lived the life of a suburban Cinderella, and his nights were spent huddled in a cupboard under the stairs. Thankfully, the admissions staff at Hogwarts managed to spare us seven turgid volumes of 'A child-wizard called It', and invited him to attend a school more suited to his precocious magical leanings.

And that's where his problems really started. Werewolves, Dementors, two-faced teachers and giant serpents made his school days even more perilous, as he gradually came to terms with his doom-filled destiny. But even Voldemort and his troop of Death Eaters are no match for his newest enemy - the Catholic Church.

Leaping into action (approximately a decade too late), the Catholic Truth Society has published a new self-help guide called 'Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers'. They're concerned by the growing popularity of Wicca and paganism, brought about by Hollywood's renewed interest in all things magical.

The booklet "offers parents advice on what to do if one of their children takes an interest in witchcraft" and even gives tips on evangelising witches in the local pub. Which should at least be more entertaining than another round of karaoke or a dominos tournament.

Author Elizabeth Dodd, a former Wiccan who converted to Catholicism, reckons that the majority of 'witches' are young women looking for some kind of spiritual experience. And she thinks that this makes them ripe for conversion.

It seems that, in Dodd's eyes at least, the world is only big enough for one book about a child born to fulfil his destiny, death and resurrection, conjuring tricks and the eternal battle between good and evil. And J.K. Rowling didn't write it.

The Catholic church is struggling to maintain its relevance in contemporary society, and I'm not convinced that a conversion campaign is going to help matters. Ultimately, this is just the religious equivalent of McDonalds publishing a pamphlet alerting fast-food junkies to the dangers of Burger King. And it's just as full of Whoppers.

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