Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 16, 2007
'Pottermaniac' priest explains series' Christian symbolism
Book focus on the triumph of love over death, says Fr. Bernier
By PEGGY WEBER
"There's a great deal of Christian imagery and symbolism in the books."
- Fr. Michael Bernier
Throughout his talk, Bernier quoted from Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger which emphasizes that the Harry Potter books focus on the triumph of love over death.
Eexample: Dumbledore says to the villain Voldemort: "Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness."
Bernier also said that many people believe that Pope Benedict "came out against the Harry Potter books."
"Pope Benedict has not said anything actually about the Harry Potter books themselves.
"I don't know if he's even read them," he said.
He told his audience that before he became pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded to a book written about the dangers of Harry Potter. He sent a note to the author thanking her for the book and said if the accusations were true then they would be of grave concern.
A majority of those attending the priest's talk were Harry Potter fans.
James Madigan, 14, said he planned to be at a local bookstore at midnight July 21 to get his reserved copy of the latest Harry Potter book.
Lisa Miranda, 14, said she came away from the lecture realizing for the first time that the Harry Potter books had "religious ties."
Bernier predicted that author J.K. Rowling would end the series not with Harry's death but possibly Hagrid's. He also predicted that Snape, who has always been portrayed in a dark light, would end up as a good character.
But above all the priest said he hopes readers embrace the goodness of the books and the enjoyment of reading.
"They're wonderfully written books that appeal to kids and adults. They're easy to read and they're entertaining," he said.
And he noted that Granger's book praises the many good things in a series where "never has the Christian message been smuggled into hearts so effectively."
Bernier said that Harry Potter is "a symbol of all of us as sons and daughters of God - humanity pursuing its spiritual perfection in Christ."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.