Here are a few excerpts taken from a presentation given at the last youth retreat in Rougemont. We took this occasion to give a brief teaching for the benefit of the young people who attended.
Occultism is subtly engaging the lives of the most influential part of our culture, today's youth. It is a real threat that has long-term social, economic, and emotional consequences. The youth are lured into this false religion by the media, especially movies, television and the music industry. These groups are all involved in coercing the occult agenda to the impressionable population of our future generations. Occultism today remains a hidden virus that is effecting its evil purpose to recruit the youth to follow the New Age ideologies. This is also a direct attack against the Catholic youth of our age.
To help give a basic idea of what the occult is, we will give a brief definition. The word "occult" stands for "secret/hidden and certain arts or studies such as magic, alchemy or astrology." Anything that is hidden and/or secret always points to Satan because he works in the darkness of sin and hates the light of truth.
It is often the case that people fall prey to the ideologies of the occult only because they know nothing about them, and this applies especially to the youth. The attraction of a "different" lifestyle and a feeling of power over their destiny is something that draws us because of our human tendency towards pride. Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden after Satan came to them in the form of a serpent and said, "you will become like gods." We know what the result of the sin of pride was, and to this day every human being on earth experiences the effects of it. In order to fight temptation, it is necessary to humble ourselves by admitting that we have no control of our lives and that only God has the key to our eternal salvation.
The popular culture of today is all geared to promote and advertise everything that will bring people closer to Satan. He uses these methods in many different ways and forms, but all have the same ideology behind them; pride.
I recently went into a store called "Hot Topic" that is regularly visited by young people. The amount of occult propaganda there is overwhelming, and even just taking a quick walk through the store, I could point out many different items with occult references. The music was intense and raucous, and the young people who were working there had a lost, withdrawn look about them. The youth today are being cultivated to admire and imitate the cult artists and the Satanic music "stars." Even clothing is designed with symbolism that promotes this culture of death. You can go into almost any store and the fashion designs for those under the age of 20 is covered many symbols that tells them in a very subtle and perverse way that the occult is not dangerous and that it is only a T-shirt design, for example. Music is also used heavily as a tool to involve emotions subliminally and promote suicide, drug use and other kinds of violent behavior.
The young people ask; "Why can't I listen to whatever kind of music I want?" The answer is simple. Music draws an emotional response from people. We listen to music to relax; at parties it gives us a feeling of celebration, it can excite feelings and emotions of many kinds. Music can also, in consequence, give us feelings of sadness or despair and cause us to have a dismal, morbid outlook on life. Temptations to suicide can occur from listening to music in which the lyrics promote and encourage sad and depressive behaviour.
In literature, there is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling that promotes occultism. The Harry Potter series were condemned by Pope Benedict XVI in March of 2005, when he was still Cardinal. He wrote to German book critic Gabriele Kuby supporting her opposition to the series and specifically pointed to the fact that the danger that is hidden in the Potter books concerned him very much. "It is good that you shed light and inform us on the Harry Potter matter, for these are subtle seductions that are barely noticeable and precisely because of that deeply affect (children) and corrupt the Christian faith in souls even before it (the Faith) could properly grow." (Copies of this letter are available on the internet.)
The Vatican's chief exorcist priest Gabriel Amorth added his own condemnation of the books, saying, "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling's books contain innumerable positive references to magic, "the satanic art." He noted that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction "does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil."
The list of parallels between the semi-fantasy world of Harry Potter and the real-life world of ancient and modern occultism are endless. There's no question about it: J.K. Rowling knows her stuff. In fact, during one call in radio interview an eager inquirer asked Rowling if she herself was a member of the "Craft." When she replied with an unexpected "No," the caller said, "You've done your homework quite well." This person then expressed his deep love for the Harry Potter books because they not only portray his own beliefs positively but were making his step daughter more comfortable with his involvement in real witchcraft. A former witch stated: "I can speak with authority when I say that I have examined the works of Rowling and that the Harry Potter books are training manuals for the occult."
French Grand Master Pierre Dangle wrote in 1986: "The day is fast approaching when Freemasonry will establish its symbols as emblems when it emerges from the esoteric plan to the exoteric." This has been a fact for the past 30 years. We see it in the hundreds of Masonic symbols that are publicly displayed in every sphere of modern life: company logos, children's TV programs, and the high tech industry and global bodies. Freemasonry (which is an occult religion) has been condemned by the Catholic Church for many centuries and the Popes have always spoken out against it. Catholics are forbidden to enter any secret society under risk of grave sin.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also forbids any contact with the occult. It states in section 2117 that: "All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity."
Let us ask Mary, the Mother of our Lord and Savior both for the grace of avoiding all contact with the occult and for the grace to leave it behind if we are caught up in it. The Church has given us many ways to combat Satan, through the Holy Mass, the Rosary, Confession, reading the lives of the Saints, praying the Exorcism prayer of St. Michael, etc. We can strive to imitate the Saints, they can always be an inspiration for us. Many of them had very striking conversion stories which tell us that God's Mercy is there for us whenever we need it. The only thing required is a sincere wish to do better.
Always remember that Jesus is waiting for you with open arms, He longs for your soul to be free to love Him once again, and He will give you all the necessary help and support that you could need to bear your Cross with patience and fortitude.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." –Micah 6:8
Marie Anne Jacques