By Al Webb
Religion News Service
LONDON (RNS) The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, worried about the growing influence of Harry Potter and his team of young wizards, has published a guide aimed at helping teenagers deal with 21st century witchcraft.
The British church's publishing arm, the Catholic Truth Society, said its booklet, "Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers," offers advice to parents who find their children showing an interest in Wicca, paganism and the occult.
The society said it was concerned by the growing popularity among youths of the Potter stories and other aspects of witchcraft bordering on hero worship.
Elizabeth Dodd, the book's author and herself a former Wiccan who became a Catholic, conceded on the group's website that "Wicca and witchcraft have proved attractive, with much to offer."
She said the booklet is intended to help Catholics assess the history and beliefs of Wicca, and also how to talk to Wiccans they might meet in a pub.
Dodd also said Catholics should find "ways in which it is possible to bring witches and Wiccans to Christ and his church."