I recently came across a video clip of Father Donald Calloway discussing “ends and means” and “Harry Potter”. It was an awesome explanation of how bad and immoral means never justify an end. You cannot possibly arrive at a good end if you use unjust, immoral, and evil means to get there. I really had never thought about this before and it really struck me, because I don’t think many of us think about this. The subtly of Satan. Satan doesn’t approach us most of the time with “in your face” tactics that we recognize as objectionably evil and wrong. Satan’s attacks are subtle and creep under the surface and are many times disguised in pretty packages that appear appealing and good. Satan is called the Father of Lies for a reason. He makes the evil and ugly appear to be good and beautiful and it is a most effective and powerful tactic. He is very cunning and sneaky.
So, in this same video clip Father Calloway speaks of Harry Potter, which was the question that brought about the whole topic of the clip in the first place. Is it okay for kids to read Harry Potter? People get very adamant and passionate in defense of this character and book/movie series, good “faithful” Catholics and even clergy and religious. They find the notion of kids being interested in reading to trump the actual message that they might be receiving as they read. Father Donald Calloway’s statement that “better a child be illiterate and enter the Kingdom of Heaven, than well-read and go to Hades” was a bold and quite frankly very courageous dictate. It is rare to find such clergy willing to stand up against the culture and popular opinion and belief and speak Truth; hard and difficult Truths. It is much easier to just go with the flow, not upset the mainstream than risk being perceived as intolerant. It really does take true courage to stand up in the face a culturally celebrated immoral behavior and say No, there is something better out there for us, don’t settle for less! Because although it is better, it is much more difficult. Jesus never told us that this life would be easy and that following him would be a breeze, he in fact proclaimed the exact opposite. He made it very clear that being his disciple would require crosses, and that the world would hate us. And the world is starting to hate the true and authentic Christians, the ones that do indeed stand for real Truth and don’t buckle under the pressures to conform to the world. These pressures are intense. It becomes quite difficult to discern the Truth from the lies. Everything can seem very grey and blurry.
So, how do we navigate through the deceit and lies to discover and follow Truth? Well, thank goodness Jesus left us a resource for just that endeavor – the Catholic Church. He told us that the gates of Hell would never prevail against Her. She certainly is not perfect but the guidance and Graces she offers through the Sacraments and teaching, can definitely get us started in the right direction. To be Truly and Genuinely Catholic is an effort. We are called to know the Faith, and to die to self, and to accept and live ways contrary to the world, when our fallen nature inclines us to fitting in. Jesus didn’t fit in, neither did most of his Saints. So it takes great courage to stand up and deem popular worldly offerings such as Harry Potter as contrary to what might be best for us as disciples of Christ, striving for Heaven. What is popular is often going to be what is deceitful to that end. So, is Harry Potter evil and will it lead us closer to Christ? Why would we even take a chance if there is any question at all to its’ holy merits, that is my question? It sure seems like a very enormous risk, Hell is eternal.
The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is very weak. When there are so many other options available that the Church guides us towards and we know will lead us to sanctity why choose the questionable? So many of us proclaim to love Christ, but how do we live that out? Do our practices and lives reflect that?
There is a popular lyric right now that I often hear on the radio, “I’m gonna stand by you, even if you can’t find Heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you”. Is this how we are living our lives, do we truly desire Heaven or do we really desire surrounding ourselves with the things that will never lead us there? It is a catchy tune, we must not let catchy tunes lead us to walk through Hell. And we must not take the possibility of Hell so lightly and be careless about our walk toward it, no matter who or what it might be with.