Sunday, January 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Rite - PG13

Based on a true story.

The central character is Michael Kovak, a seminarian student who questions his faith.  But before he leaves the seminary, he agrees to attend an exorcism course in Rome.  It is there that he meets Fr. Luca (Anthony Hopkins), an experienced exorcist.  While working with Fr. Luca, Michael participates in several exorcisms and comes face to face with the devil.  Michael is ultimately required to perform an exorcism on a most unexpected person and realizes that believing in God and His power over evil is necessary to overcome evil.  Fr. Gary Thomas, upon whom Michael's character is based, is still an active exorcist in the Chicago area.

EWTN has been praising this film as being accurate about exorcisms.  Indeed, it is a very good movie and there is no Catholic bashing.    Anthony Hopkins is stellar as Fr. Luca.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview with Fr Gary Thomas of "The Rite"

Interview with Fr Gary Thomas, the priest on whose experience the film “The Rite” was based.
Leticia Velasquez
Catholic Media Review

Velasquez: I’d like to ask my first few questions about the book.
What did you first believe about Satan? How long had you been a priest and what was your belief?
Fr Gary: I was a priest for 27 years; I never doubted the existence of Satan. However, I don’t think I’d ever seen Satan until I became an exorcist. Like they say in the Creed. “All that is seen and unseen”. I had no reason to doubt Satan.
Velasquez: No doubt in your years as a priest you’ve seen his work, you just didn’t meet him. After you took the course in exorcism at the Regina Apostolorum, you had more of a change of experience than a change of belief then?
Fr Gary: Oh, I’d say so, absolutely, sure, because my belief in Satan and the existence of Satan, I just assumed there was a Satan, because the Church teaches about Satan and I thought it was true. Taking the course was very informative, but it wasn’t to much taking the course as being able to apprentice under an exorcist in Rome for three months, that was far more profound.
Velasquez: So that left you convinced that this was an important ministry within the Church?
Fr Gary: Absolutely. It’s a healing ministry, I think that should be underscored; it’s really a healing ministry. When you think of it that way then there isn’t so much of a provocation that somehow one has to think of it and A. be afraid, that B. think it is all smoke and mirrors. It’s a healing ministry.
Velasquez: What made you coordinate with Matt Baglio on the book?
Fr. Gary: Well, Matt was just taking the course in Rome like I was; I didn’t know him till we were in the course together. He was an American and we were the only two Americans in the class.
Velasquez: Were you helping each other with Italian?
Fr Gary: I wasn’t helping him with his Italian, because he’s very good with Italian, he’s married to an Italian. He was helping me with my Italian. He was so kind to translate the presentations for me. He would translate the presentations for me because the Regina Apostolorum didn’t always offer translator, however, I didn’t know that till I got there.
Matt and I would talk a lot, when I told him I was going to be there for a long time and I was looking to find an exorcist, and he asked me “would mind if I wrote a book about your experiences of your training?” I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and said, “OK, That’s fine if you want to.” I had no idea where this was going to lead, but I knew he was a journalist by profession. He spent hours interviewing me, especially when I was working with a priest in Rome.
Velasquez: And that Roman Capuchin exorcist is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the film as Fr Lucas?
Fr Gary: Yes. My character is played by Colin O’Donohue.
Velasquez: And he’s a seminarian rather than an experienced priest?
Fr Gary: That’s correct. The filmmaker did take a bit of license with that.
Velasquez: Did he play an Irish priest? He’s Irish, right?
Fr Gary: He is, but in the movie, you will not hear his brogue. He’s playing the role of a deacon, he’s been ordained already. He’s had a faith crisis, and he’s been having a faith crisis during every summer of his seminary formation, he realizes this after he is ordained a deacon. I think he just realizes that he’s made a mistake.
Velasquez: Do you think that the differences in the portrayal of the story affect the message?
Fr Gary: No, I don’t think so. I mean I watched the movie with Anthony Hopkins two weeks ago, I thought it was very riveting. It was very emotional for me, yes, they took some license, but the core message in that movie, and I think this is a movie about faith.
Velasquez: Its good to hear that because the book was very moving.
Fr Gary: The book is all true. There’s nothing in that book that’s not true.
Velasquez: So you think the movie is realistic. Unfortunately, the trailers are a bit sensationalistic.
Fr Gary: I know, the trailers don’t do the movie justice. I’ve had lots of my parishioners say, “Oh my Gosh, they look so scary”, but I tell them it’s not as scary as it looks.
Velasquez: Perhaps they chose the scary parts to attract an audience which might not be initially interested in the deeper message. I hope they do come and it works to get them in to see the film. What is the takeaway message of the film?
Fr Gary: I think the takeaway message is that its very important to have a faith life. And if you have that faith life, it will only lead to good. That evil does exist in the world and its bigger than just the force of a power. Its an intelligence. And in the same breath, Christ has come to be with us and get us through this life to the next.
Velasquez: Matt Baglio gave me the impression that you two were very devoted to spreading this message in the American Church.
Fr Gary: Oh yes.
Velasquez: You sent copies to all the bishops.
Fr Gary:
When Doubleday published the book, the religion editor called me and said, “Do you have any suggestions for us?” I said, “Yes, send this book to every bishop in the United States, and every rector of every major seminary”.
Velasquez: What kind of reaction did you get from the bishops and rectors?
Fr Gary: I got some very nice thank you notes and some letters acknowledging that they got the book, I know the religion editor got probably more than I did, but I got about a dozen. They were all very positive. Now I will tell you in the same breath, that there are bishops who don’t believe. I’ve had rector generals tell me they don’t believe.
Velasquez: What percentage of diocese have exorcists?
Fr Gary: There are 185 dioceses in the country I know there are at least 25 public exorcists, I know there’s a few more. I’d say there’s probably under 50. So probably maybe a quarter of US dioceses have one.
Velasquez: Yet, isn’t that something the Church recommends for every diocese?
Fr Gary:
The Church mandates it in the Code of Canon Law.
Velasquez: So we’re actually in violation of the Code. There was a meeting about exorcism before the USCCB general meeting in November. Do you think that sending the bishops a copy of “The Rite” had anything to do with it?
Fr Gary: I wouldn’t say in a profound way, but I would say Bishop Leprocki who is the head of the Canonical Affairs Committee of the USCCB, he had been to one of our conferences. We have a conference every year back in Chicago and its for exorcists and priests involved in the healing ministry and some lay people come too. He went to one of them. I don’t know if he got a copy of the book, although he should have, it came out in 2009 and he was already an ordinary. But he said he doesn’t remember receiving it. But he has since read it. I can’t say it didn’t have anything to do with it. I think the very fact that I wrote a cover letter to 185 bishops may have had an effect.  I hope it did.  But I do think that calling a conference and calling the bishops together should have been a wake up call for a lot of them. There were 65 bishops who signed up for that conference and 55 priests. I thought it was a very well done presentation myself.
Velasquez: Do you know Fr Thomas Euteneuer?
Fr Gary: I’ve met him, I don’t know him.
Velasquez: Have you read his book, “Exorcism and the Church Militant”?
Fr Gary: I’ve read parts of it.
Velasquez: Is it consonant with your experience?
Fr Gary: Yes, it is.
Velasquez: Do you have any stories to tell of exorcisms?
Fr Gary:  There was a situation in Rome once with a young woman who walked in speaking Italian to me, my exorcist trainer walked in and blessed her with holy water and she literally began screaming and picked up the chair, and was going to throw it at him. Now, they’re not all like that.
There’s the man I pray over and have been exorcising for two years, there’s huge manifestations, he’s improved dramatically, but, nonetheless, he opened himself up for a bunch of reasons. I can’t detail them on the phone, it would take too long. 
Velasquez: In general, what do you recommend people avoid if they don’t want to become involved with demonic activity?
Fr Gary: I think they should just stay away from everything that is pagan in the sense of ritual, so I recommend that people should stay away from dabbling in the occult; from dabbling in things that are idolatrous, from getting involved in things that are simply about self, and I don’t mean by that going to a club and doing physical exercise. Where people are into Wicca, earth worship of other kinds, witchcraft and spells, crystals, using metaphysical means to try and find answers to questions.
Velasquez: So stay away from New Age practices?
Fr Gary: Yes, those are all the New Age practices.
Velasquez:  I appreciate your influence upon the USCCB.
Fr Gary: I hope it has some enduring influence.
Velasquez: Is there any evidence that they are sending any more priests in for exorcism training?
Fr Gary: Well, we don’t have any training programs. I hope that is something which comes from the meeting in Baltimore, we have no training programs.  I was lucky to get the training I got in Rome, but as I said to the bishops, you can’t expect the exorcists in Rome to train all our exorcists. I have already oriented two guys in the last year; They’ve spent a few days with me. But it requires much more than that.
Velasquez: Do you think there’s a greater need now in the Church than in previous times?
Fr Gary: I do, because there’s more Catholics involved in more paganism and idolatry.
Velasquez: Fr Gabriel Amorth agrees with you, according to his books. Why do you think that there’s not enough of this ministry?
Fr Gary: I think for a long time we just relied so much on the social sciences, Psychiatry and Psychology as sort of a new religion to figure out the mysteries of human behavior. I think we felt we could just depend on science, and I certainly am a proponent of using Psychiatry and Psychology, but in the same breath, I think that there’s a limit to science and there’s the realm of the spiritual we know far less about. And because of our scientific mind and orientation as a Western society, I think we put these other kinds of things we can’t figure out on the shelf.
Velasquez: So its our prejudice against a spiritual explanation for things?
Fr Gary: I think so.
Velasquez: Thank you Father Gary.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Exorcist praises new movie 'The Rite,' for showing power of faith

Father Gary Thomas, whose real life experience as an exorcist-in-training is chronicled in the highly anticipated movie “The Rite,” praised the film for its positive portrayal of the Church and for its witness to the power of faith.

The movie, starring Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and newcomer Colin O’Donoghue, is loosely based on Fr. Thomas' experience traveling to Rome and studying under an Italian exorcist in 2005.

Set to hit screens on Jan 28., “The Rite” follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue), who is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his own doubts. Anthony Hopkins plays a character by the name of Fr. Lucas – an Italian priest and veteran exorcist – who befriends Michael and helps open his eyes to reality of demon possession and the need for rite in the modern world.

Friday, January 21, 2011

We Saw a Rough Cut of "There Be Dragons" Last Night

It was a very rough cut with scenes missing, on video instead of the final media, that sort of thing. I can't write a review but I can tell you a few things ...

It is the story of Josemaria Escriva, told through flashbacks by a father to his journalist son who has been assigned to write a book as Escriva is about to be canonized in the movie's current-day timeline. In a sense, it is an anti-DaVinci Code because it shows the beginnings of Opus Dei as God's work intended for all people. Certainly it is an interesting look up close at the Spanish Civil War from the point of view of Escriva and his childhood friend (a fictional character whose life is intertwined with Escriva's in a way that shows us the contrast between being open to love and forgiveness and rejecting them).

Tom and I both found it absorbing.

You need have no fears about a Hollywoodization of either St. Escriva or the Church. Escriva is shown as a priest in a real, human occupation (or as they'd say in the Church, vocation). He is somewhat idealized but with faults and frailties that any human experiences in their attempts to live life the right way. I was totally impressed by how often I saw monstrances in the movie, often empty but still there as reminders of the centrality of the Eucharist. As well, the Eucharist is treated in a completely respectful way, especially if a threat comes along.

It will be in theaters on May 5 and I would plan to see it. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: :Unplanned" by Abby Johnson

Many of you are aware of Abby's story. She was with Planned Parenthood for 8 years, the last 2 as a clinic Director. She left Planned Parenthood after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion.  That was BIG news for pro-lifers.  I blogged about it at the time.

Although I am ecstatic when a pro-abort becomes pro-life, I must admit I approached Abby's story with a great deal of skepticism:   How could someone work at Planned Parenthood for 8 years and not be fully aware of, and horrified by, the reality of what abortion does?  

Abby's desire was to help women and reduce abortions. The fact that she wanted to reduce them is indicative that she knew abortion is wrong.  In order to keep working at Planned Parenthood,  she had to ignore her conscience.  It was a gradual process, but eventually she was able to leave Planned Parenthood.

The part that most caught my attention was the pro-lifers who prayed outside the clinic.  At first, there were a couple of extremists such as someone dressed as the grim reaper and others with large graphic pictures of aborted babies.   I pray outside an abortion clinic and I know how some well-intentioned people like this can actually hinder the pro-life cause.   It was the Coalition for Life that made the pro-life witness there more effective by making it more prayerful.  They also helped Abby when she made the decision to leave Planned Parenthood.

Abby left a Christian church that was pro-life because of her position at Planned Parenthood.  She found a pro-choice Christian church to attend, but later had to leave there when she became pro-life.  The BIG hole in this story is that there is no discussion of when/how Abby became Catholic. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Movie Review: Green Hornet - PG13

Warning: Possible Spoilers

I am a BIG fan of the Green Hornet series that starred Van Williams and Bruce Lee; that is the mindset with which I anticipated this movie. 

 As in the series, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) inherits the Daily Sentinel newspaper when his father James Reid passes away.  This version portrays Britt much more as a reckless playboy than the series, and he initially has a lot of resentment toward his father.

Kato, who worked for Britt's father, becomes his assistant and is largely responsible for the beginning of the Green Hornet/Kato team;  it is his handiwork that gives Britt the incentive to fight crime. 

Rogen's portrayal of Britt Reid/Green Hornet is much more 'silly' and inept than the series, but  was also much more entertaining than I expected.  

The character of Mike Axford was the most true to  the original series, while the character of D.A. Scanlon was most different from the series.

There was plenty of action, and it was made better by the interaction of the characters of Britt Reid/Green Hornet, Kato and Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), Britt's secretary. 

Not much in terms of content warnings  aside from some mild cursing.

Very entertaining.  I highly recommend this movie and in fact, I am hopeful of a sequel.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review of "Change of Plans"

They have been listening to those of us who bemoan the lack of family friendly movies on TV!
Walmart and Proctor and Gamble present a series of family oriented films on FOX, which they have called "Family Movie Night" the second of which will be airing this Saturday at 8.
 Maybe you were able to catch the first film in this new project, "A Walk in My Shoes" about two women, a teacher and a waitress who are locked in conflict until by some mysterious reason, they switch lives. If so, you'll know that this is no ordinary film series. Upbeat, and professional with well known stars and excellent scriptwriting, these films are excellent on many levels, and each carry messages we are delighted to see expressed in film; family matters, kids are the center of our lives as parents, sacrifice is demanded when you love, don't judge another until you walk in their shoes, and love can overcome suffering.
"Change of Plans" is the story of a yuppie couple who were not cut out to be parents, or so they thought. Sally Danville's life is what so many of us dream of; she is a stunning blond and hip rock musician, who, with her gorgeous fighter-pilot husband, Jason, live an enviable urban life with no children.They are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary scuba diving in Tahiti,  but fate has decided otherwise. On the way to the door to the airport, Sally decides to answer a phone call from Child & Family Services case worker, Dorothy (Phylicia Rashad, The Cosby Show who is just as beautiful as ever!). Their lives head into a tailspin as Sally (Brooke White, American Idol) is met with the news that her best friend from college has died in a tragic accident on a Peace Corps mission and has named Sally the legal guardian of her four kids - 3 of them adopted from third-world countries.
 Sally and Jason (Joe Flanigan, Stargate Atlantis) decide to attempt to parent these children and become, for the first time, a family. Its only temporary, they reassure themselves, their hectic yet abosorbing careers tempt them too much to consider making sacrifices for children they have just met. They will ask Dorothy to searh for a 'forever family' for the four kids, so they don't have to change their plans for long.

Yet something about this tight little family of four begins to open their hearts, and Sally and Jason find themselves getting involved in the challenge of helping the children adjust to life in the USA and mourn the loss of their parents. Soon, they find their priorities changing, and they find out that happiness is found in giving your life away to others.

Will they be approved to be the kids' 'forever family' or will Javier's brushes with the law prove their first response correct, that they weren't cut out to be parents after all?

Alhtough Sally and Jason's life is far from ordinary, it is hard not to find this loving couple appealing, as they struggle with their consciences, their successes and failures to connect with the children. The children themselves are absolutely captivating and are realistically portrayed in a rolleroaster of emotions upon losing their parents and being uprooted from Uganda, the pearl of Africa. Humorous scenes of kids who can't resist the cool stuff Jason and Sally have in their home, and different definitions of 'football' help these children wind their way into your heart. I was ready to adopt them myself. Their unity as siblings was touching yet not overplayed (they had their conflicts) and they brought the idea of prayer and sharing around the family dinner table into the Danville's home. In fact, they took a place which was little more than an address and transformed it into a home.

Any parent who is tired of their children viewing shows which glamorize career at the expense of family will be thrilled to find that the roles are reversed in "Change of Plans". Those who, like me, have experienced international adoption will find the challenges that the children face both in school and at home familiar. The challenges of parenting are portrayed convincingly yet, in a stunning reversal, those who get the negative treatment are the divas of the music industry!

This engaging film will please your entire family from your children from the preschooler to young adult, thanks to cameos from American Idol judge Randy Jackson, whose film score is brilliant and NASCAR's Jeff Burton. Parents and teens might find some provocative discussions emerging from the film,  as Javier's (Bobby Soto) past as a street child in Guatemala, catches up with him, and Jordan (Jayme Lynn Evans) challenges Sally's role as mother. Your little children will adore the bright smile and heartbreaking emotion of Surissa Suwoko as the youngest child, Sung Lee and the smooth charm of musically gifted Kaleb (Jakoby Dempsey). Music keeps this family drama upbeat and inspiring, while the message of hope and love will in this film will certainly beat the post-Christmas blues.
Load up on the popcorn, claim your spots on the sofa, crank up the surround sound, and start a new tradition; Fox family movie nights, with this outstanding film.
Nothing in this film will offend families with children of any age. I give it my highest recommendation.

A message for Catholic TV viewers who want better programming!

Family Movie Nights are sponsored by Walmart and Procter & Gamble to provide families with quality early-primetime programming - the kind Catholic families enjoyed for decades and would like to enjoy again on a regular basis.
The next Family Movie Night features "Change of Plans," which stars Brooke White (American Idol); Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show). "Change of Plans" is the story of the joys and struggles of building a family from a group of strangers – including children of international adoption.
Life sometimes gives us more than we planned for. "Change of Plans" sheds new, important light on the impact of adoption on families – including those created through circumstances outside of our control. Catholics of all ages will be moved by the film's message

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review: "The Rosary Workout"

The Rosary Workout
by Peggy Bowes
Bezalel Books, 2010

A former member of the Air Force, Peggy Bowes is a personal trainer, Spinning instructor and lifestyle and weight management consultant. In writing "The Rosary Workout," she sought to create "a plan that would help a person improve both physically and spiritually . . . an integrated approach to taking care of the body and soul." It is designed for people at all levels of physical and spiritual fitness and can be easily adapted to whatever stage one finds oneself.

Many people say the rosary while walking or jogging, but Bowes has truly developed a systematic workout plan incorporating both prayer and exercise. There are nine levels of progression in "The Rosary Workout," each named after one of the nine choirs of angels. "Each level is four weeks long and presents a different set of goals for both physical and spiritual fitness."

Bowes acknowledges that many people may never progress beyond the beginner levels in the fitness component (the first three levels), but we should all continue progressing on the spiritual level. She offers many helpful suggestions for maintaining discipline in both exercise and prayer. Perhaps the most important "helpful hint" is to ask for divine assistance in doing so. Another good suggestion is to keep a journal of both your physical and spiritual progress.

"The Rosary Workout" is easy to understand and offers much encouragement. If you are an Olympic-level athlete who prays three hours a day, you probably don't need this book. Everyone else will find benefit in it.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: "The Third Testament" by John Eklund

Fred Sankt is a professor at a small Catholic College, and he is also a widower.  He is not used to dreaming, but he has a series of dreams in which a faceless friend informs him that he was chosen to write the Third Testament.

Fred is also coping with a few personal issues:  he is faced with a lawsuit, and his daughter Ellen is facing a health crisis. 

The Old Testament covered from creation and the history of the Jewish people.  The New Testament covered from the birth of Christ and the birth of His Church.  The main idea of the Third Testament is to cover the first 2000 years of Christianity.  Fred includes Martyrs, Saints, Persecutors such as Constantine and Stalin, the Protestant Reformation, apparitions such as Lourdes, Fatima and Guadeloupe.  The writing of the Third Testament actually helps Fred deal with the issues above.

I very much enjoyed Mr. Eklund's writing style.  The characters were especially easy to relate to.  Although I had never thought of a Third Testament,  the way he incorporated it into the story makes the idea seem plausible.  Mr. Eklund is careful to adhere to Church teachings, for example, Fred decides not to include the alleged appararitions at Medjugore because they have not yet been approved by the Church.  Mr. Eklund chooses to leave one loose end, but he also explains why he has left it.

There is a lot of history incorporated in the story,  I would particularly recommend this book for history buffs and those who regularly read the bible. You can get it at iUniverse or on

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Year With The Church Fathers: An Extraordinary Book in Every Way

I always know that anything Mike Aquilina writes is going to have solid worth behind it. When it is a book that has anything to do with the Church Fathers then I know it will be solid gold. Aquilina's passion for the wisdom of the Fathers always is passed on to readers in such a way that they appreciate the Fathers for themselves, which is no easy feat when one considers how long ago they wrote.

In A Year with the Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living, Aquilina has surpassed himself. This is not simply a collection of interesting or informative excerpts from the Church Fathers' archives. It is a well-planned, daily retreat that is designed to progress through a year with the ancient Fathers as spiritual guides. The 365 meditations are intended to move the reader, with prayer and contemplation, to a deeper life with Jesus Christ.

Each day's title and brief summary from Aquilina put the reader in the subject. The selected Father's brief commentary then expounds on a topic. Lest one should worry that the language will be difficult, Aquilina made sure it is contemporary and accessible while retaining the full meaning intended by each author. This is followed by a question or two which help readers relate fully to what was just read. A brief but specific prayer end the session.

Tan Books has done this book proud. This book is a beautiful thing that reflects the value of the words within it to our souls. The cover may not be actual leather but it certainly feels like it. Pages are gilt-edged. A sturdy ribbon marker matches the cover. Moreover, the book design is elegant and decorative in an understated but classic way. A Year with the Fathers is not only useful but a book that could become an heirloom in your family. Readers will know that I do not give this praise lightly.

This book arrived at exactly the right time for my husband and me. We were resolved to return to a neglected habit of reading aloud to each other a brief spiritual piece each day. In the few days that we have been using this devotional resource, we have been mightily impressed by how easy it is to understand and by how there is always a point or two that speaks to one of us for further thought. Mike Aquilina has given the Church another treasure in this resource which I cannot recommend highly enough.

I am sharing the first day's meditation in order to show the simplicity with which ideas are put, but the elegance and far reaching thought that is achieved. This is extremely timely both in beginning "at the beginning" and also in subject matter for modern times. (Note: Aquilina advises beginning with a prayer by simply saying, "Come Holy Spirit.")
Day 1
Put God at the beginning

No matter what scientific explanation you come up with for the origin of the universe, says St. Basil, you'll go far wrong if you don't put God at the beginning of it.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I say first? Shall I demonstrate the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I praise the truth of our faith?

The philosophers of Greece have tried very hard to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken. They are enough in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of God could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the universe—a primary error that trapped them in sad consequences.

Some fell back on material principles and attributed the origin of the universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and invisible bodies, molecules and tubes, unite to form the nature of the visible world.

It is because they did not know how to say, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Fooled by their inherent atheism, they thought that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that everything was given up to chance.

To keep us from this error, the writer on creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the name of God: "In the beginning God created."
-St. Basil, Hexameron, 1.2

In God's Presence Consider...
In a world where science has made so much progress, what does it mean to put God at the beginning?

Closing Prayer
Father, you alone are eternal, and you alone live in unapproachable light. I thank you that you have made me in your image; have mercy on my sins, and save me through your Son Jesus Christ.

Cardinal Ratzinger's ten arguments against Harry Potter series

I have argued similar points as these for years, with many vehement opponents within the Church. Here is the correspondence of then Cardinal Ratzinger with regards to Harry Potter novels.
Please listen to his reasoning with an open mind. As a former dabbler in the occult (in my adolescence) i can confirm the dangers of certain literature for impressionable minds.Here are the most salient points in my opinion, but please read the rest of the article at LIfe Site News.

 4. The human world becomes degraded, the world of witches and sorcerers becomes glorified.
5. There is no positive transcendent dimension. The supernatural is entirely demonic. Devine symbols are perverted.
6. Harry Potter is no modern fairy tale. In fairy tales sorcerers and witches are unambiguous figures of evil. The hero escapes their power through the exercise of virtue. In the Harry Potter universe there is no character that endeavours consistently to achieve good. For seemingly good ends evil means are being used.
7. A (young!) reader’s power of discernment of good and evil is blocked out through emotional manipulation and intellectual confusion.
8. It is an assault upon the young generation, seducing it playfully into a world of witchcraft and sorcery, filling the imagination of the young with images of a world in which evil reigns, from which there is no escape, on the contrary, it is portrayed as highly desirable.

Read the entire article at Life Site News.