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If you want to read more information about former Cardinal Ratzinger who is our current pope, please visit http://benedictbenedicto.blogspot.com". http://johnpaulII-benedictxvI.blogspot.com"

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    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    The Magic, Fantasy of Traditions & Culture: Quinceanera Celebration, The Young Woman's Quinceanera Planning Guide


    Quinceanera Celebration: The Young Woman's Quinceanera Planning Guide. Do you know the history of Quinceanera? Do you know what it takes to organize the big party? How about the do's and don'ts of formal invitations to friends, family members and other important people in your life? This guide helps you celebrate, organize and prepare this once-in-a-lifetime event in your daughter's life. Purchase a copy only for $20. This price includes shipping and handling.
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    Is Harry Potter Repackaged Sorcery

    "There shall not be found among you anyone who ...practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you."
    Deut. 18:10-14


    =========================================
    A Fantasy World

    Children are understandably fascinated with the kind of power that Harry and others in his world possess. Author JK Rowling says,

    "The idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, both literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me."

    Certainly power is appealing, especially "white" witchcraft like this that is made to look so innocent.

    Even some Christians leaders agree that it's "just fantasy" and generally acceptable for the Christian reader, including Chuck Colson of Breakpoint, the editors of World Magazine, and Connie Neal (author of What's A Christian To Do With Harry Potter?) [7] However, occult experts, Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age [8] and Caryl Matrisciana, author of Gods of the New Age [9], disagree with their Christian peers. Both have personal experience in the occult before becoming Christians

    As one example among many, Caryl points to a chapter in the fourth book entitled "Flesh, Blood and Bone".

    "Harry is magically transported with his friend Cedric to a dark, scary graveyard. There, Harry is tied to the headstone of Lord Voldemort's father's tomb by Voldemort's slave, Wormtail -- a shapeshifter who takes the form of a rat. A slithering snake, synonymous with the presence of Voldemort, circles around Harry. Following an order to kill from a voice of unknown origin, the slave utters a death curse. In shock, Harry witnesses the murder of his friend Cedric."

    Perhaps all of this sounds a bit scary, but nothing to be concerned about. Potter fans say that this world is just make believe and has no bearing on the real world. While a few Christians don't even like to read or see classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Lord of the Rings, or Chronicles of Narnia due to the mere presence of evil, most Christians recognize the good vs. evil element as being clearly delineated. Evil is evil, and good is good, and good is promoted while evil is not.

    But in the Potter series, the line is not so clear. The "good" guys practice "white magic", while the bad guys practice the "Dark Arts". Readers become fascinated with the magic used (explained in remarkable detail). Yet God is clear in Scripture that any practice of magic is an "abomination" to him. God doesn't distinguish between "white" and "dark" magic since they both originate from the same source.

    "There shall not be found among you anyone who ...practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you."
    Deut. 18:10-14

    Furthermore, if one were to use the reasoning that such objectionable material can be included in fantasy literature, then "that line of reasoning would tell you that you could include in fantasy any violence, pornography, whatever you wanted, and still defend those books by that very same statement."

    The problem is, witchcraft is not fantasy; it is a sinful reality in our world.

    "J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has gone through an awful lot of research. She is very accurate (otherwise we would have witches all over the country and the world saying 'this is not a true representation of our religion'.) This is a true representation of witchcraft, and the black arts, and black magic. And yet we have people that say this is merely fantasy and harmless reading for our children. Actually, what makes this more dangerous is that it is couched in fantasy language, and children's literature, and made to be humorous, and beautifully written and extremely provocative reading. and it just opens up children to want to have the next one. This is what is so harmful."

    Read more at http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/harrypotter.html

    Harry Potter Series, Spiritual Battles, Sorcery, Magic, Good vs. Evil

    Harry Potter is a character in a series of books written by J. K. Rowling about a young boy who discovers he really is a wizard, (in other words, a sorcerer). Four books have come out in the Harry Potter series, with 3.8-million copies of the fourth book released in the U.S. on July 8, 2000. Worldwide, 35-million copies of the first three books are in print, with about half of total sales in the U.S. (USA Today, 6-22-00, p. D-1). The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was released in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The “Philosopher’s Stone” is part of the lore of alchemy and medieval sorcery, and supposedly was a stone which could be used to turn base metal to gold and was the Holy Grail of sorcery (Bill Whitcomb, The Magician’s Companion, St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1994, pp. 351, 485, 527).

    Rowling has been hailed as a clever, imaginative writer who has enticed children into reading books again. no doubt this is true. yet, however clever or imaginative the stories are, they do center on a character who is learning the arts of sorcery and witchcraft. One defense, or minimization of the sorcery in the Harry Potter books, is that the stories are just a normal part of a child’s fantasy world. The stories of C. S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien are often brought up as examples. But are Lewis and Tolkien the standard for discernment? Even so, Lewis did not endorse the occult. And if Tolkien did, does that make it okay? (When I was an astrologer, my witch clients and friends loved Tolkien, by the way.) Yes, Lewis and Tolkien did write fantasy novels that included magical elements. The question for Christians should be: is the fantasy (in any story) centered on the occult, and what does God say about the occult?

    It is pointed out that Harry Potter represents “good” fighting “evil”, and therefore, in the context of fantasy, this is okay. These views, however, raise several questions: Is the sorcery and magic in Harry Potter just fantasy? If not, are fantasy stories using occultism as a model healthy reading? Is it Biblical to accept the use of “good” magical power if it is used to fight evil? Is there such a thing as “good” sorcery? Any popular children’s book set in an occult environment offering a hero who practices the occult arts warrants careful examination and a Biblical response. Occult sources are used for this article to make the point that occultism is real and is part of a serious practice, philosophy and spirituality that is opposed to historic, Biblical Christianity.

    Sorcery And Witchcraft Are Real

    Although Harry Potter attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, what is really being described in the book is sorcery. Sorcery and witchcraft in some cultures are the same thing. According to one source, “European witchcraft grew out of sorcery, the casting of spells and divination” (Rosemary Guiley, Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, New York: Checkmark Books/Facts on File, 1999, p.315). Since there is no Hebrew word for witchcraft, some Bible translations will use the term “witchcraft” while others will use “sorcery.” Rather than using a label, Hebrew describes the practices of what is translated by each culture as sorcery or witchcraft, such as using potions (or poison), incantations to spirits, communing with the dead, etc. Each culture and its language comes up with the label of witchcraft or sorcery according to particular cultural understanding and practices. [See Note A at end of article for further explanation].

    Contemporary witchcraft, especially in the United States, is a form of religious Neo-paganism and is not sorcery, which is an occult practice. Although varied in its beliefs from group to group, witchcraft and Wicca usually encompass the views of honoring nature as sacred, monism (all is one energy), polytheism (many gods), and pantheism (all is God/Goddess) or panentheism (God/Goddess is contained within the world). A well-known witch couple state that “The rationale of Wicca is a philosophical framework into which every phenomenon, from chemistry to clairvoyance, from logarithms to love, can be reasonable fitted” (Janet and Stewart Farrar, A Witches’ Bible, Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing, 1996, p. 106). While witches and Wiccans might practice magick (occult magick is often spelled with a ‘k’) or cast spells, they would more likely consider it “white magick” and not sorcery. [See the CANA document on Wicca/Witchcraft at .]

    Those who practice sorcery may adopt some pagan beliefs, but do not usually identify with witchcraft. Contemporary sorcery is based on a belief of accessing and manipulating energy through various methods. There are those who practice ritual magick, an involved form of sorcery based on teachings going back to ancient societies. Some equate ritual magick with ‘High Magic,’ described in one book as teaching “how to reach one’s personal genius, the Guardian Angel who watches over each individual life and who is waiting faithfully and patiently to make man’s every wish come true” (Migene Gonzalez-Wippler, The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic, St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1996, 2d edition, p. 64). Many ritual magicians may also use some of the writings and philosophy of infamous magician Aleister Crowley, who died in 1947. [By the way, Crowley was not a Satanist, although some Satanists use him as a model and adopt his Thelemic Law, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” allegedly given to Crowley by his Guardian Angel/spirit guide, Aiwass, (Guiley, 71-72)].

    Magic is “the art of changing consciousness and physical reality according to will,” and sorcery is “the manipulation of natural forces and powers to achieve a desired objective”(Guiley, 212, 314). Another definition of sorcery is offered by Lewis Spence as using “supposed supernatural power by the agency of evil spirits called forth by spells by a witch or black magician” (An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Citadel Press/Carol Publishing, 1996, p. 373). Here is a definition by a magician: “Magic is a collection of techniques, dating back 70,000 years, aimed at manipulating the human imagination in order to produce physical, psychological, or spiritual results” (J. H. Brennan, Magick for Beginners, The Power to Change Your World, St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1999, p. 44).

    Read the rest of the article at midwestoutreach.org

    What Others Are Saying of Harry Potter Books: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is the Sixth Installment

    New York Times Review:

    "Harry still has his wry sense of humor and a plucky boyish heart, but as in the last volume ("Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"), he is more Henry V than Prince Hal, more King Arthur than the young Wart. He has emerged, at school and on the Quidditch field, as an unquestioned leader: someone who must learn to make unpopular decisions and control his impetuous temper, someone who must keep certain secrets from his schoolmates and teachers."

    "... the suspense generated by these books does not stem solely from the tension of wondering who will die next or how one or another mystery will be solved. It stems, as well, from Ms. Rowling's dexterity in creating a character-driven tale, a story in which a person's choices determine the map of his or her life - a story that creates a hunger to know more about these people who have become so palpably real."

    =============
    Wire Reports: JK in Midnight Release

    The first wire reports are starting to come out now, with more details of our favorite author at her special midnight release party in Edinburgh, Scotland. This reports quotes JKR as saying:

    Excited, I am excited," Rowling, 39, dressed in a black dress and black jacket, told a group of reporters as she was ushered along a red carpet, stretching to the castle.

    "There are a lot of answers in this book," she said, above the noise of the crowd, packed into chairs and behind barriers.

    "I can't wait for everyone to read it," she said, adding that she had left a copy of the book with her daughter."

    =============

    Headline (Yahoo): Pope quoted as fearing Harry Potter blurs line between good and evil

    English translations of the two letters by Cardinal Ratzinger follow:

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
    Vatican City
    March 7, 2003


    Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby!

    Many thanks for your kind letter of February 20th and the informative book which you sent me in the same mail. It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.

    I would like to suggest that you write to Mr. Peter Fleetwood, (Pontifical Council of Culture, Piazza S. Calisto 16, I00153 Rome) directly and to send him your book.

    Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

    + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger


    =======================

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
    Vatican City
    May 27, 2003

    Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby,


    Somehow your letter got buried in the large pile of name-day , birthday and Easter mail. Finally this pile is taken care of, so that I can gladly allow you to refer to my judgment about Harry Potter.


    Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

    + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

    =============

    Harry Potter and the War Between Good and Evil
    by Rabbi Noson Weisz


    The "Harry Potter" books are not just novels. They are modern fairy tales with predominant spiritual themes. They describe the struggle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of the good through the courage and ingenuity of the human spirit, and the power of human love.

    The survival of the infant Harry against the onslaught of the evil Lord Voldemort that cost the lives of his parents, is repeatedly attributed to the power of his mother's love and her willingness to sacrifice her very life on the altar of this love. [Don't worry -- I can't reveal any secrets about "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," because I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet.]

    In each of the stories, Harry and his friends triumph over the evil Lord Voldemort through the spiritual power of goodness implanted in Harry, the strength of the powerful bond of friendship between Harry and the faithful Ron, the ingenuity and the problem-solving ability of the studious Hermione, and the courage of all of them combined.

    The genius of the author J.K. Rowling lies in her ability to bring such heavy themes down to earth in a way that manages to fascinate children and adults alike.

    The theme that particularly grabbed my interest is the struggle of good and evil, which perhaps captures our culture's prevailing attitude. As a Jew, I could not help but reflect on the contrasting attitudes towards this epic struggle between Judaism and the world of Harry Potter.

    What struck me first is that the struggle between good and evil is not to be found in the world of Muggles. In the Muggle world, the evil of Voldemort metamorphoses into the stupidity, venality and meanness of Harry's relatives, the Dursleys. These are traits that even the courage and ingenuity of Harry Potter cannot overcome; the only method of dealing with them is escape.

    People in the Muggle world -- the real world vs. the magic world -- are either interesting or banal. Those that are banal are narrow and selfish, and there is no way to redeem them. They cannot change or be changed. Those that are interesting are very likely to receive an invitation to attend Hogwarts. Those that are not, can only be handled by keeping one's distance. In the world of the Muggles, everything is destined to remain a muddle.

    Thus, the Dursleys remain static. Their connection with Harry -- although they demonstrate an act of great kindness in providing a home for an orphan -- leaves them uninspired. Only their negative traits intensify from book to book. Before our eyes, cousin Dudley grows into a selfish, self-centered, narrow-minded monster with the full encouragement of his parents.

    But the Dursleys are presented as banal, not evil.

    THE ANSWER TO MEANNESS

    In contrast Judaism teaches that the chief purpose of life in this Muggle world is to change such negative character traits. The struggle against venality and small mindedness is also a struggle against evil. The answer to overcoming meanness and stupidity is not to escape into a fascinating magic environment, but to help change the world in which one finds oneself.

    One of my main tasks as a Jewish parent is to teach my children the heroism involved in shaping one's character. Just as they must fight their own negativity, they need to learn to regard the venality of others as a quality that all are struggling against. When they do, they acquire the character trait of always judging others favorably, and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    In the world of Hogwarts, where there is a struggle between good and evil, people are not portrayed all that differently either. With the possible exception of Professor Snape, there are no ambiguous characters, nor people who undergo moral character development. From the moment of entry into Hogwarts, every one is fixed in place.

    The Sorting Hat divides the eleven-year-old entrants into various houses. In the first three books, there is nothing good about Slytherin, nor is there anything bad about Gryffindor. [The other two houses have yet to play a significant role.] All the Slytherins have an evil and menacing look, with speech patterns to match, while all the Gryffindor characters are ones we can identify with.

    The good is purely good and the evil is purely evil. There is no area of ambiguity or confusion. While the good struggles with the evil, the combatants are not free to choose sides. They are frozen into their camps by their characters.




    =============

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Pope Benedict XVI's New Book: "The Europe of Benedict: In the crisis of cultures"

    This 149-page book is written mostly in Italian. It's published by Cantagalli Publishers which released the book along with the Vatican's publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

    The book tackles the issues that are familiar with this pope: the role of Christianity in Europe and the need to respect life from its conception to its natural death.

    According to AP, there's no plan to translate this book into other languages. The publishers will have to decide on this.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

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    Here's a message I received from a fan. If you can help this organization, do so.


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    Can you send one or more of the 1,460 fifty-dollar donations needed to
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    Friday, April 22, 2005

    A Modern Pope's Biography: Benedict Embraces Message of Unity, Dialogue and Reconciliation Thru High Tech

    A curious mind indeed. Cardinal Ratzinger who becomes Pope Benedict XVI is a brilliant theologian and teacher, a great defender of the Catholic doctrine. In his position of chief enforcer of the faith, he did not mince words. He was the second most important person in the Catholic church.

    Having spent 26 years in Vatican serving his predecessor, John Paul II, he saw first hand the powers of reconciliation and communication with other faiths, followers and churches. No wonder that his first papal Mass, he made mention of these points as hi main objectives. He is ready to open a dialogue.

    What do we know about his health? Is he as athletic and robust as John Paul II was?

    Benedict XVI is a walker. He likes to stroll unrecognized among the streets of Rome. Walking allows him to think on his feet. He is calling on his 1.1 billion followers to walk and be fit. Jesus walked with his disciples. Hey, walking is a great form of exercise.

    According to Vatican sources, Benedict has no history of chronic health problems. It's been noted that the 78-year old German was hospitalized twice sinche the 1990s. In 1991, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. His left field of vision was affected for a short time. In 1992, he fell and sustained cuts on his head.

    According to the Cardinals who selected him, Benedict XVI is a great listener. A sympathetic listener. He also has a great memory and is fluent in many languages. Communication comes easily to him.

    What's his philosophy? How about his Theology?

    Many have said that even in his young years, he was a wunderkind theologian. In Rome, he impressed so much his fellow German-speaking, older priests that he returned home a star. That's also where he met Karol Wojtyla who would later become Pope John Paul II. From his teaching days at various German universities to his theological position in Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger or Benedict XVI has always led a high professional life.

    Who is the man? Who is Ratzinger? How did he grow up?

    He was born in a little Bavarian town named Marktl Am Inn. He grew up mostly in Hitler's times. This explains why he was forced to join Hitler Youth movement. He deserted his unit and was briefly a prisoner of war in a US camp. From a very young age, he showed his interest in the affairs of the church. His older brother Georg and he started attending a seminary, but WWI prevented them. After the war, they could resume their seminary training. Those who know him personally will tell you that he is not a huge extrovert, the heart of the party. He is rather serene but confident.

    What does Benedict Mean?

    It comes from Latin Benedicto and means, "Blessed by God." He often quoted St Benedict who lived at the end of the Roman era. He tried to broker a peace treaty in World War I. No wonder that Benedict wants to be seen as a pope promoting peace and good relations.

    Find out more about this pope by reading other articles

    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Welcome to Benedict, Benedicto, Blessed: Pope Benedict XVI

    If you want to read more information about former Cardinal Ratzinger who is our current pope, please visit http://pope-benedictoxvi.blogspot.com
    and http://benedictbenedicto.blogspot.com.

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    Are you ready to settle in Mendocino, California?

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    Do You Want to Purchase an Orange County, Imperial County Home?

    Monterrey/Salinas Residential Properties, Homes and Office Space Are As Hot as Apple Pies:
    Think about the water-front, beach-front properties!

    Are you ready to settle in Mendocino, California?

    Orange County Appeal: Beautiful Homes and Access to the center of Los Angeles, Hollywood Culture

    Merced Area Homes Are Going Fast Thanks to the New UC university: Great Investment!

    Riverside/San Bernardino County Homes for Sale!

    San Diego Area Real Estate Offers Great Advantages: Invest and buy homes!

    Find San Francisco Bay Area-Santa Clara/San Mateo Homes for sale!

    Santa Barbara and Wine Country Homes for sale

    Ventural County Homes, Properties for sale!

    Coastal Homes and Properties for sale in San Luis Obispo Area

    Find homes and properties in the Sacramento Areas

    Stockton/Lodi Area’s homes for sale

    Buy a First home, a Second Home or Vacation Home in Ski Country

    Denver/Boulder/Greeley Area Homes for sale

    Eau Claire Area’s homes and Properties:
    Get your dream home in the back country!

    Green Bay, Wisconsin has some of the best natural places to live
    Start searching for a home there

    Start looking for homes in Tacoma Area-Pierce/Thurston Counties

    Madison Area Homes for sale: Get a taste of this vibrant city life!

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    Find Your Dream Home among Salt Lake City/Ogden Area Homes and Properties

    Do You Want to buy homes in Dallas/Fort Worth Area?

    You can’t resist the lure of San Antonio Real Estate Investments

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