Friday, June 3, 2011

Once a Witch Always a Witch

After I came out of the broom closet, my mom occasionally would be heard to mutter, "Once a witch, always a witch." She picked up that saying from her sister, a Gardnerian Wiccan. While my mom thought that I was a Satanist (probably still does), she never tried to save my soul by getting me to convert to Christianity. I have to give her points for that.

And today, I have to take points away from the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church has issued a book though the Catholic Truth Society telling its members how to talk to and convert Wiccans: Wicca and Witchcraft---Understanding the Dangers.

"To marginalised and spiritually hungry generations the growing spiritual phenomena of Wicca and witchcraft have proved attractive, with much to offer: power, supernatural abilities and socially acceptable agendas such as eco-activism and feminism. This booklet examines their origins, history, beliefs and practices, and then explains Catholic teaching’s cogent assessment of them. Furthermore it explores why young people are attracted to Wicca, and describes ways in which it is possible to bring witches and wiccans to Christ and his Church."

And it is written by a former Wiccan, Elizabeth Dodd. Oy Vey, as my Jewish friends would say.

Of course, a bigger Oy Vey comes from the fact that the book is the result of fears that movies like Harry Potter are encouraging witchcraft. Really? Gee, they are going to be highly disappointed when they join, ain't they?

Every generation has its "And Product X is driving kids to dabble in witchcraft." In my day, it was the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. D&D is not nearly as dangerous of a game as Monopoly. (Think about it---what is the one lesson you learn from Monopoly?)

Ironically, my mother muttering is closer to the truth. Some people are just born witches, and are going to embrace Wicca or other non-traditional religious practices as soon as they stumble over them. And stuck with them, despite outside pressure.

(Though it should be noted that in my case, I had no idea what a witch was the first time I used it to describe myself. Maybe I picked up the word from my aunt, though I never remember her using it around me. Someday, I really should ask the Wiccan community if they want me as a member.)

Some interesting ideas in the book:

70% of Wiccans are young women. I am not sure where she gets that figure from---it seems a little off to me. Maybe I am hanging around with too many old crones---who will hit me with brooms the next time they see me.

Aleister Crowley supported Wicca. No, no, no. He didn't. Wicca was not even around yet when he was alive. How can you support something that doesn't exist yet. (And yes, I know both responses---and they are besides my point.)

Points to start the conversion process---Wiccans' concern for the envirnoment and the fact that Wiccans are on a genuine spiritual quest. Hmmm, and the Catholic Church claims not to be a big business.

I wish them luck in their conversion process, but I doubt that they will be converting any of my friends. But at least, they are not recommending burning us at the stake---today, that is.


PhoenixAngel said...

i have one thing to say to this, "once an evangelical religion, always an evangelical religion"

Imperator David Griffin said...

Oh my Goddess!

I was mistaken.

You have unmasked the REAL Borg.

Admin said...

I think that witches exist.

Scott Stenwick said...

Elizabeth Dodd wrote this article for the Catholic Herald describing her conversion from Wicca to Catholicism. The real WTF moment for me (besides her admission that she got started in Wicca with the "teen witch kit"!) was this comment, at the end of the article.

The values that brought me into Wicca – ecological, feminist, pacifist – are addressed more deeply by the Catholic Church.

I suppose the modern RCC has a decent record opposing wars, though some questions have been raised about its conduct during WWII, and its record on environmental issues is mixed. But feminist? Dodd must be under the impression that feminism consists of:

(1) Preventing women from holding any leadership role in the Church.
(2) Insisting that patriarchal values come directly from God.
(3) Banning the use of birth control which contributes to the advance of women's rights in societies where it becomes available.

So the RCC's "feminist values" consist of completely rejecting feminism. I'd really like to hear more on how Dodd explains that.

If she finds Christianity more inspiring that Wicca as a spiritual path I don't see anything wrong with that. But if she's looking for a Christian denomination that addresses the issues she claims to care deeply about maybe she should try the Episcopal Church. It retains most of the cool ritual forms of Catholicism, but it has a much better record on progressive issues than the RCC does.