Continued from page 1

He also notes that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) deems the movies based upon the books as suitable viewing for adults and adolescents.

Not every Catholic commentator is convinced that Harry Potter is simple fantasy. Canada’s Michael O’Brien, the author of the Father Elijah series of Catholic fiction, says the books condition children to equate the occult with symbols of goodness and replace Christian symbols with those of sorcery and witchcraft.

“Crucial to any understanding of the controversy is that symbols have power,” Mr. O’Brien says. “They exercise a power over the subconscious largely, especially in the young reader whose consciousness and conscience is in a state of formation. If we destroy symbols, we destroy concepts. If we corrupt symbols, we corrupt concepts.”